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S. G. and E. L. ELBERT 



ft^*ltjek% ELLA SMIfH ELBERS? '88 

nv ursMim_ i... comae ^ 

135 OTas!)fnflton Street, Boston, 
Jula? 1, 1862. 




Edwin Brothertoft. By Theodore Winthrop, Author of " John 
Brent/' etc. 

Eyes and Ears. By Henry Ward Beecher, Author of the " Star 
Papers," etc. 

Sylvia's Lovers. By Mrs. Gaskell, Author of "Mary Barton," 

Titan. Jean Paul's great Romance. Now first translated. By C. T. 

The Patience Of Hope. With an Introduction by J. G. Whit- 

The Golden Hour. By M. D. Conway, Author of the " Rejected 

The New Gymnastics, for Men, Women, and Children. 
By Dr. Dio Lewis. 

Graver Thoughts of a Country Parson. By the Author of 
" Recreations," etc. 

The Poems of Arthur Hugh Clough. With a Memoir of 
the Author. 

Life and Correspondence of Theodore Parker. By John 


The Amber Gods, and other Stories. By Harriet Pres- 
cott, Author of " Sir Rohan's Ghost." 

Historic Americans. By Theodore Parker. 

The Poems of Oliver Wendell Holmes. In Blue and Gold. 

The Poet's Journal. By Bayard Taylor. 

The Flower People. By Mrs. Horace Mann. A Summer Book 
for Children. 

Out-door Life. By T. Wentworth Higginson. 
Hose Terry's Stories. 

Health and Strength. By Dr. Windship, the strong man. 
Fireside Travels. By James Russell Lowell. 





Impcra parendo. 



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1862, by 

Moncuke D. Conway, 

in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts. 

University Press-. 

Welch, Bigelow, and Company, 




I. Point of Perspective 7 

II. In Chancery . . . . . . .9 

III. In Common Law 14 

IV. Military Necessity 26 

V. The Two Edges of the Sword . .30 

VI. Fighting the Devil with Fire . . . 36 

VII. Liberty's Legitimate Weapon .... 42 

VIII. The Gradual Plan 52 

IX. War for the Union . . .... 56 


XI. Through Self-Conquest to Conquest . . 65 

XII. A Post-prandial Point 73 

XIII. The Probabilities of Insurrection . . 76 

XIV. Mercy, and not Sacrifice . . . . 82 
XV. The Consecration of Heroism ... 88 

XVI. A Possible Babylon 94 

XVII. The Dial of Growths 102 

XVIK The Golden Hour . . . . . 112 

XIX. The Negro 122 

XX. To the President of the United States . 128 


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Once upon a time an innkeeper, awakened at midnight 
by caterwaulings in the hall below, was filled with wrath, 
and, leaping from his bed, seized a poker, and rushed down 
stairs to demolish the cats. But he did not wait to light a 
lamp for the expedition. The unexpected results were, that, 
in striking at the cats, he broke the hall-clock, and the hall- 
lamp ; then, falling, he broke his right arm, broke two teeth 
out, and sprained an ankle. 

In fine, he hit and hurt nearly everything except the cats. 

At such a cost the innkeeper learned that blindfold zeal 
can do but harm. 

— Twenty millions of men and women, whose hands ply 
daily sword or needle, compelled by a purpose too great 
for them to define ; a million men, marching and eagerly 
awaiting the order to march toward the valley of death ; 
manifold Abrahams, standing beside their sons, whom their 
faith has bound and laid on altars of sacrifice ; — are not 
these signs of a vitality and zeal in any nation adequate 
for any emergency? 

But where is the lamp for these ? How many more 
blunders and bruises must we have ere we demand light 
upon this stairway, on which we can climb, down which we 
may fall? Thus far in this war nearly everything has-been 
zealously struck, except the real foe of this nation. 

The writer of these pages, having for a long time studied 

this wild disease at the South, which has made that section 
into its own image and likeness, — having been brought by 
destiny face to face with this evil in the South, whose spots 
of contagion he has also marked on every institution of the 
North, — believes that this nation has but one foe, and that 
it will be pursued by that one everywhere and always until 
it is no more evaded, but met and destroyed, as it easily 
can be. 

Convinced that the arch-traitor is not Davis, but Slavery, 
and that the age is worthy of an army of saviours, who 
shall, by its destruction, rescue, besides the Union, both slave 
and rebel, I send forth this work, trusting that it may help 
forward the day when the only war-cry of our nation shall 
be, — Mercy to the South ! Death to Slavery ! 



There are in the United States — as we are face- 
tiously termed — nearly thirty-four millions of human 

Of these, three hundred and forty-eight thousand, or 
about one ninety-eighth of our population, are owners 
of slaves. 

This small proportion has, ever since this was a nation, 
preserved in our midst every old form which the nation 
meant to abandon ; just as if we had never had a May- 
flower or Bunker Hill, the old autocracies and aristocra- 
cies gathered about the rich board of the New World, 
the thirty-three millions and two thirds standing behind 
the chairs of the handful constituting the caste of 
Owners of Human Beings. For this ninety-eighth of 
their number the millions must pour out their hard 
earnings to buy new territory ; for this, pour out their 
blood to rob Mexico of territory ; for this, fear to call 
their souls their own. 

It made no difference that these lived in so-called 


Free States. Did they go South, they must go crawl- 
ing ; or West, it must be to build the highways of 
America as convicts with Slavery's ball and chain tied 
to their feet ; whilst at home they saw their sacred 
growths, Religion, Education, Literature, and Social 
Science, with a worm gnawing at every core. 

At length this pitiful handful, having blighted a hun- 
dred thousand square miles of the finest land in the 
world, having kept uncultivated thrice as much more, 
having locked up in impenetrable barriers the richest 
metals on the continent, having produced an average of 
a hundred thousand white adults in every Southern 
State who cannot read or write, having kept the whole 
country in discord and hot water for two generations, 
have finally plunged it into civil war. 

Of the 348,000 owners of slaves in America, only 
18,000, at the highest estimate, are loyal ; and these, 
being generally in the Border States, where large plan- 
tations of slaves are not found, own an average of 2i 
slaves apiece. 

One fortnight's expenses of the present war would 
pay $ 500 for each slave held by any person at present 
pretending to be loyal. 

A man once saw a fiery dragon descending the side 
of a distant mountain : starting back in terror, his eye 
reached a true point of perspective, and he perceived 
that the dragon was the minutest of spiders, which had 
swung itself down too close to his eye for right vision. 




If there were no question of the suppression of a 
vast rebellion involved in the present relations of the 
nation with Slavery, it would be a momentous ques- 
tion . how this small slaveholding interest has gained 
such an ascendency in the government that it is not 
held as attainted even by treason. Are these slave- 
holders, in number about equal to the population of 
one of our third-rate cities, the royal family of a king 
that can do no wrong ? It is a question of some 
interest to thirty millions of men, who, fondly imagin- 
ing themselves living under a democratic government, 
see their rulers suspending universal guaranties of 
Liberty rather than touch the right of eighteen thou- 
sand men to do wrong, — pulling down the very rafters 
of the house, rather than destroy the rats' nests. 

Before this nation stand two classes of subjects. 
The one is a class of those who, having received every 
benefit at the hands of the nation, and no burden, 
have yet betrayed and wronged it, and inflicted every 
stab they could upon it. The other class is of those 
who have received at the hands of the nation nothing 
but degradation and wrong, who, having every reason 
to betray it, have yet never betrayed it or harmed it. 
And, lo, between these two the nation prefers to let 


its severest blow fall on the poor man it has wronged, 
even when he would befriend it, though it strengthen 
the arms which threaten its life and the lives of its 
bravest children ! 

Can any one account for the infatuation which seizes 
our public men whenever they catch a glimpse of an 
African, or anything that concerns an African ? How 
often have we got hold of some man whom we thought 
a free-soiler, and sent him to Washington only to see 
him at the first step on its threshold turn out a 
soiler of freedom ! iEsop tells of a cat which had 
been transformed into the form of a woman. On one 
occasion, sitting at a table with a company, none of 
which suspected that she was really a cat, a mouse 
made its appearance on the floor ; whereupon, for- 
getting the human part she was playing, this feline 
female leaped forward, upset the table, and devoured 
the mouse before the astonished company. Moral: 
Instinct will tell, under whatever forms. Never be 
sure that your politician, however transformed he may 
seem, is a genuine man, until you have seen a negro 
pass safely within reach of his official paw. 

Get close enough to the interior life of an American 
politician, and you will be pretty sure to find v that 
it stands in his religious faith, that the stripes in our 
flag have a Swedenborgian correspondence to stripes 
on a black man's back. It is to be feared that in this 
they represent the prejudice or the indifference of 
the people. Lately I saw two negroes thrust from a 


car in New York, on a night so stormy and bitter 
that it would have been cruel to expel a brute. A 
dog in the same car slept at the feet of his master, 

Thus is Slavery rotting the very heart of Manhood 
throughout this country. 

We have learned nothing of Slavery, if we have not 
learned this truth, to wit, — that Slavery has no will 
of its own. There has been a delusion in this country, 
that Slavery is a free-agent ; and when, in Kanzas, 
the ballot of Freedom was responded to by the torch 
and bowie-knife, — when, in the whole nation, the ballot 
was replied to by a bomb into Port Sumter, — we began 
to awake to the perception that Slavery has no free 
choice. Slavery is more a slave than any man it fetters. 
It had no choice but to fire on Sumter. Chemistry 
does not more by fixed laws make a boulder, than by 
fixed laws Slavery hurls it at the head of Wendell 
Phillips. Slavery is in the coils of Fate, and must, 
if it exists, obey its own dark laws. 

The other day a man — and that is a rarer creature 
than is generally supposed — stood upon the soil of 
Virginia. Slavery said, " He is firm, truthful, intelli- 
gent, — the gamest man I ever saw," — then proceeded 
to hang him. Slavery would have hung him had it 
been Jesus Christ, because it must. 

The common sense of the country has already come 
to the conclusion that Slavery is the cause of the war. 
But it must be seen that war is the legitimate appen- 


dage and weapon of Slavery ; that Slavery is perpetual 
war ; that this war is but the effort to extend Slavery's 
already existing martial law over the entire govern- 
ment. Only by military power has Slavery been re- 
tained in this country. In the cities of the North, 
when its claim to some fugitive was to be asserted, 
we have seen its martial array ; but this was only the 
cropping out of the constant state of things in the 
South. Nightly patrols ; the punishment of men from 
the North without process of law; the frequent sup- 
pression of the usual laws for reasons of state ; the 
suppression of all discussion concerning Slavery ; — 
these are possible only where martial law is habitual. 
The present war is only the extension and exasperation 
of what has been all along the method in the war of 
the strong race against the weak in the South. 

It would seem, then, in the light of simple equity, 
that the natural method of suppressing Slavery's rebel- 
lion would be found in some way of dealing with Slav- 
ery itself. Nature has the penalties of violating her 
laws always in the direction of the transgression itself; 
a fall bruises, putting one's hand in fire is followed by 
a burn; and every habitual sin, as licentiousness or 
drunkenness, is followed by a train of diseases pecu- 
liarly its own, and growing out of its own organic char- 
acter. There is no confusion of penalties ; one is 
not burnt by falling, nor bruised by fire. 

This way we have of seizing the sword on every 
occasion to punish or meet indiscriminately all attacks, 


is barbarous. In the laws of this universe, where every 
sin has its own penalty, the retribution never fails of 
being effectual. The child which has once put its hand 
to the fire, never repeats the experiment. Nations and 
men must translate these great laws of Nature, and 
then their defences will never be of doubtful strength. 

The rebellion of Slavery should at once have been 
followed by our only logical reply, — the abolition of 

Suppose that, in reply to that bomb which fell into 
Fort Sumter, our President had seized the pen, instead 
of the sword, and written such a proclamation as 
this : — 

" Slavery, from being a domestic institution in cer- 
tain States, with which the government had nothing to 
do, having become the common foe of all the States, 
with which the government has everything to do, it is 
hereby declared that all the slaves in this country are 
free, and they are hereby justified in whatever measures 
th§y may find necessary to maintain their freedom. 
Loyal masters are assured that they shall be properly 
compensated for losses resulting from this decree." 

Every rebel owning a slave, or living within miles of 
one, would, as by the wand of an enchanter, have re- 
mained spell-bound at his fireside, where he ought to 
be. There could have been no war. 




During a residence of some years at Washington, I 
found that there was a clause in the Constitution used 
there, which I have vainly looked for in my copy : it 
ran as follows : — 

" Art. — , Sec. — . Any legislation on the part of Con- 
gress liable to the charge of being morally right shall 
be held &s prima facie unconstitutional; this, however, 
shall not invalidate such legislation, if it can be proved 
that its moral character is simply a coincidence." 

I have seen good Republicans grow red in the face 
with showing that they were maintaining freedom sim- 
ply for strategy or expediency, and indignantly avow- 
ing that they were not actuated by any motives of 
humanity or rectitude. 

So we must not dwell upon any such little point as 
the moral ulceration of a whole nation, so much as upon 
the prospective waving of the Stars and Stripes on the 
custom-house in Charleston. 

But, even in the eye of the organic law, we maintain 
that the right to abolish Slavery is antecedent to the 
right of taking the sword. It is the duty of the Pres- 
ident to " suppress insurrections " ; but there is no in- 
timation that the Executive shall, in suppressing insur- 
rections, be confined to the method of bloodshed. If, 


indeed, bloodshed is the only method or the best method, 
he is sworn not to shrink from that ; but if the end 
could be reached by anything more humane, it is his 
duty to remember that the sword is termed the ultima 
ratio^ — the last resort of states. 

If in the present case there was a probability that the 
insurrection could be put down without bloodshed, say 
by slaveryshed, it were the legal duty of our President 
to try the slaveryshed first. When the alternative is 
the dreadful one of civil war, the method which dealt 
directly through Slavery the paralytic stroke would not 
demand, any more than a naval expedition, a cer- 
tainty, but merely a probability, of success. 

Amongst all the rights which have been claimed for 
Slavery, as guaranteed in the Constitution, there is one 
which no man has ever been bold enough to try and 
make out ; that is, the right 'of existence. Slavery 
has the right to the rendition of fugitives, — so long 
as it exists ; the right of representation, — so long as 
it exists ; but nowhere the right to exist. Our fathers 
did not expect it to continue in existence, and made 
no arrangement to secure it should that existence be 

Its right to be let alone in the States where it exists 
is simply a negative right, held " during life or good 
behavior " ; and our fathers were not such knaves 
as to guarantee its life, nor such fools as to guarantee 
its good behavior. 

Leaving out of the account any demand of military 


necessity that every slave's chain should be struck off 
by a decree of emancipation, it is important to bear 
in mind that our President has no oath registered 
to protect Slavery. The counterpart of the right of 
Slavery to be let alone in the States where it confines 
itself, is the forfeiture of any claim to protection from 
any influence in Nature or Civilization which may 
threaten its existence. If by lifting his finger the 
President could save Slavery from death, he would 
have no right to lift his little finger ; it would be as 
unconstitutional to save it in any State, as it would 
be, under the usual and peaceful process of govern- 
ment, to destroy it in any State by an official act. 

In the present conflict, Slavery has cast itself directly 
across the track where the President has sworn to 
engineer the government, and he has no right even to 
put down the brakes to save it from being cut in two. 
He has stretched his constitutional authority to the 
utmost in having sounded the whistle to warn it, as 
he did recently in his special message. 

Let it be remembered that the right of the States 
to regulate their own domestic institutions is one grow- 
ing out of the nature of the government which our 
Constitution established. But the friends of Slavery 
have of late years been pressing this feature of our 
government so far as to break it, — carrying it so far 
that the national government was represented as some- 
thing which had a use, but, having created various sov- 
ereign States, was now only fit to be thrown away, like 


a pod from which the peas have been gathered. To 
put the case beyond the reach of prejudice, let us im- 
agine a case which cannot occur, but which is parallel : 
Cotton is a staple which any State has a right to pro- 
duce. But suppose some year all the cotton planted 
should bear a fatally poisonous flower, which should 
be woven into garments deadly to the wearers. Sup- 
pose that it was determined that, owing to some new 
atmospheric conditions, the cotton-plant if grown must 
continue a fatal poison. Then, if any State should 
persist in raising and selling that staple, the United 
States would be compelled to interfere to prevent it. 
No specific power would be necessary for such inter- 
ference ; for such a State would be an outlaw with 
which any nation (a fortiori that to which it owed 
allegiance) would have a right to interfere. Now, 
Slavery having always spread malaria throughout the 
nation, has this year actually borne a poisonous har- 
vest, — which, uninterfered with, must prove fatal to 
republican government. Then the general government 
has a right to deal with it no longer as a domestic 
institution, but as a public foe. 'Tis its duty, even 
in the Border States, where the crop comes on later, 
to arrest the institution before it has reached the fatal 
maturity of treason there also. Already we have heard 
Garrett Davis advise Kentucky to resist laws of the 
United States. 

The question whether Slavery is a national or a 
State institution is this year a sheer impertinence. I 


have observed that, when Slavery wants new territory 
or a fugitive negro, it is always a national institution ; 
when it wants discussion throttled, or, in the pathetic 
words of Jeff., " to be let alone," it is always a State 
institution. According to the States-Rights interpreta- 
tion, our fathers put it together in the hasty way in 
which the marvellous dog spoken of in the advertise- 
ments of Spalding's glue was put together. The dog, 
being cut in two, was instantly made whole by this 
wonderful preparation ; but so hastily were the parts 
put together, that the hind-legs and fore-legs projected 
in opposite directions. So the dog went through the 
remainder of his life running on his fore-legs until 
he "got tired, then turning a summerset and running 
on his hind-legs. Slavery having gone, as its advan- 
tages suggested, now on national, now on State legs, 
has at length thrown itself across the nation's track, 
and, if the train comes in " on time," will be cut in 
two once more ; and, though our Border-State friends 
ar'e already offering in advance Spalding's genuine, 
dog-cheap, let us hope that this dog has had his day. 
In all the States which have seceded, the gate of 
liberation has been opened by purblind oppression's 
own hand. If, as this government declares, Slavery is 
a State institution, it must, in the eyes of this govern- 
ment, fall when the State government falls. A number 
of " the weaker brethren " in Congress have raised a 
cry that this position concedes what the rebels claim, 
that a State can be wrested from the Union ; and Mr. 


Montgomery Blair has given a blatant assent to that 
cry. I will not say that these men thus prove them- 
selves unfit to legislate for a nation whose institutions 
they thus estimate ; but if the following statements shall 
lead any mind to that inference, I shall not complain of 
being misunderstood. 

Where is the court or power in any seceded State 
which this government can recognize ? Suppose the 
Governor of any seceded State should claim from Gov- 
ernor Andrew of Massachusetts the return of a criminal 
to that State. Would the Governor, who is bound to 
return persons accused of crime to the States in which 
the crimes were committed, return a criminal to Gov- 
ernor Pickens? 

Suppose even a loyal Carolinian to claim a negro 
within our lines at Port Royal, in what court is the 
case to be decided ? There is no court, large or small, 
in that State, which could be recognized without sur- 
rendering the whole case of the United States. Even 
if the United States had a Commissioner there for the 
purpose, he cannot even try the case except the claim- 
ant bring a certificate of ownership from a loyal court 
in that State ; but where will such a court be found ? 

This principle would be at once seen if it referred 
to white-faced minors and apprentices. If a few thou- 
sand of these should desert the South for our lines, and 
the parents and 'prentice-masters, loyal or rebel, should 
seek to have them returned, as " owing service " under 
the laws of their States, would our government treat 


such State codes as still in existence ? Would this 
government return a few regiments of youths under 
age, who wished to fight for us, to their parents ? Is 
it not anxious to draw away from rebel lines all of 
these it can ? 

It does not follow that the State, as a member of this 
government, has committed suicide, but only that all 
it has, by its own separate authority, established, is 
laid in ruins. The blow aimed by States' Eights at the 
authority of the nation strikes to the heart of those 
very Rights, and those alone ; for the crime places the 
State before the supreme government in the attitude 
of a criminal, whose allegiance is still perfect, but whose 
rights are exactly what the supreme tribunal decides 
them to be. 

No State can affect so much of its existence as is 
derived from, and dependent upon, acts of the general 
government. It can destroy its own courts, but not its 
United States District Court. 

The United States is engaged in an unjustifiable 
war, if judged by any other theory than that the 
seceded States are in a state of anarchy ; and anarchy 
is emancipation, because Slavery rests upon certain 
special (exclusively) State enactments, which being 
now withdrawn, it falls to the ground. If not, let some 
one show us why, of all peculiar and domestic institu- 
tions, — such as the laws punishing as criminals anti- 
slavery men, and also those who teach negroes to read 
or write, — slave-ownership alone has an ark in which to 


survive the deluge. If this war is a real thing with us, 
our government is engaged in establishing laws and their 
forms in places where all laws have been overthrown, 
with all the rights and wrongs held under them : univer- 
sal law it may establish there, but not local law ; and 
if Slavery exists any more in such localities, it will 
be by an act of this government, as purely arbitrary 
and infamous as if it imported so many slaves from 

For the United States occupying Virginia to establish 
there the local laws and institutions which had existed 
in that State, any more than those of New York, is ultra 
vires. The United States not only has no such author- 
ity, but in the present case to recognize the relation of 
master and slave in the South is simply to follow in the 
fearful furrows of civil war, and sow them with the 
winds whose harvests shall be whirlwinds such as we are 
to-day reaping. 

To all the technical objections offered to this position, 
— based on the idea of Centralization, the twin-error 
with State-sovereignty, — which hold that a State can- 
not violate its compact with the general government, 
the law replies with its maxim, Via facti, via juris. 

But however important these views may be, the 
argument for Emancipation need not rest upon them : 
indeed, so systematically have the negroes been kept 
from the means of knowing their rights, that their 
liberty must rise upon them, clear and unmistakable, 
like a sunrise. 


We need, then, an edict without reservation declaring 
that this government recognizes all men in this country 
as free. This edict may come from two sources : — 

I. Congress may declare Slavery abolished. 

1. By the power (Art. I. § 8) to provide for the 
common defence and general welfare. 2. By the duty 
(Art. IV. § 4) assigned the government, to guarantee 
to every State in this Union a republican form of 
government. When Congress has the manliness to see, 
what it requires ingenuity not to see, that the common 
defence is weakened and the general welfare impaired 
by the existence of Slavery in this country, it is under 
oath to abolish that system, under the first of these 
clauses. When it has the common sense to see that 
Slavery and the rebellion are united as cause and effect, 
and recognizes the normal hostility of Slavery towards 
the ballot-box, — i. e. to the republican form of gov- 
ernment it is pledged to maintain in every State, — it 
is sworn no longer to harbor it in the country. 

It is not to the point to say that the majority of the 
States which adopted the Constitution held slaves. Law 
is, essentially, the higher nature of man enthroned over 
his lower. Criminals are every day punished by laws 
which they pay to sustain, and acknowledge to be just 
and authentic. Many slaveholders voted for the prin- 
ciple that " all men are created equal." This ques- 
tion is to be considered apart from the practice of the 
States and individuals who made our Constitution, as 
much as apart from their religious persuasions. 


The compromise which our fathers made with Slavery 
was not the one-sided affair which some new schools 
would have us believe. They gave protection to the 
system as long as it should last ; but, on the other part, 
they gained the power over it which such protection 
implies. The abolition of Slavery by Congress requires 
no amendment of the Constitution, simply because 
there is no word in the compact securing that institu- 
tion from the natural effect of legislation for the general 
welfare. Consequently, its extinction is committed to 
the growth of opinion, and may be reached at any mo- 
ment when the judgment of Congress shall enact that 
henceforth the clauses relating to " persons held to 
service " shall be held as applicable only to minors 
and apprentices. 

The fact that these clauses, when adopted, were meant 
to protect Slavery, along with the liability of minors 
and apprentices, is balanced by the fact that its specific 
mention was left out for the very purpose of rendering 
its tenure insecure. 

But the strictest constructionist, or the most sensi- 
tive traditionalist, will admit at once that the Slavery- 
institution to which our fathers gave a quasi-protection 
in the Constitution is quite a different thing from the 
Slavery-institution which it is now proposed to abolish. 
Slavery establishing the ballot-box over its own head is 
a different thing from Slavery trampling on the ballot- 
box. Slavery helping to rear a republican government 
is a different institution from that which comes with 
murderous weapon to strike it out of existence. 


The truth is, it is a doomed institution. Our fathers 
pronounced sentence on it, giving it the benefit of 
clergy, whereof it has availed itself to the last stretch 
of grace. The day and deed of execution they assigned 
to their posterity. From us it may get a reprieve ; 
but a pardon, never ! 

II. The President of the United States, as Com- 
mander-in-Chief of our Army and Navy, may abol- 
ish Slavery under Martial Law. 

This is a purely military power, and consequently 
Congress cannot, under the war power, abolish Slavery. 
Congress may, however, impeach the President, if, to 
the detriment of the Republic, he should refuse to do 

The war power being legitimated by the Constitution, 
its edicts are constitutional law until repealed by due 
process of legislation, remaining in force after the 
exigency which evoked them is past. The slaves of 
rebels in the department lately under J. C. Fremont 
are legally, as under martial law he declared them, 
free men ; and should any one of them sue for liberty, 
he could only be surrendered to his master by a 
decision that the President's modification of Mr. Fre- 
mont's Proclamation was a military order of re-en- 
slavement , superseding ordinary process of law. 

They are either free men, or the President has, for 
military reasons, sent them to the dungeon of Slavery, 
as he has sent political prisoners to Fort Warren. 


It is an error to suppose that, if the slaves were 
declared free by the Commander-in-Chief, the effect of 
such proclamation would pass away when the rebellion 
was suppressed. The President might, during the war, 
and under the power which had emancipated them, 
re-enslave them,— holding himself ready, in both cases, 
to show the military reasons for his action. He is sup- 
posed to act by necessity. But except by such military 
necessity and power, he could not revoke his procla- 
mation. It would be law until unmade by Congress. 

Equally is it an error to suppose that any State 
would be able, after the liberation of slaves by the 
United States, to re-enslave them. 

Whilst the government recognizes as slaves those 
who are so by birth and by fact, yet for a State to 
enslave a man whom even its own laws have pro- 
nounced free, would be contrary to the article of 
the Constitution which secures every " person " from 
being arbitrarily deprived of life, liberty, or property ; 
but that slaves liberated by the laws of the United 
States could not be made slaves by any State, is mani- 
fest from Art. VI. of the Constitution, which declares : 
" This Constitution, and the laws of the United States 
which shall be made in pursuance thereof, and all trea- 
ties made, or which shall be made, under the authority 
of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the 
land; and the judges in every State shall be bound 
thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any 
State to the contrary notwithstanding." 




It is claimed that the military general is the judge 
of what military necessity requires. 

The military general is the judge of the methods by 
which certain movements are to be accomplished. It is 
manifest, however, that specific movements and methods 
are, to a great extent, determined by the great object to 
be accomplished by the entire system of movements. 
General McClellan is the judge of how to reach Rich- 
mond ; but of the object we have in reaching Richmond 
he is not at all the judge. The nation must assign the 
aim, and then its officers must decide what means are 
necessary to that aim. It is clear, that, if the demand 
of the nation were simply that our flag should wave 
over some forts and custom-houses from which it has 
been taken down, the military necessities involved 
would be very different from what they would be if 
the demand were that this rebellion should be crushed 
in such a way as that it should be absolutely impos- 
sible ever to have another. 

The war power is not limited to a specific military 
movement, but extends to any aim which the people 
may hold as essential to the stability, peace, and honor 
of their country. 

The war power — the power unsealed by military 


necessity — is not dependent in its action upon the 
absolute indispensableness of the measures it proposes. 
It is justified in that it secures any advantage greater 
than the price paid. If a conflagration were sweeping 
through a city, and there were a probability that the 
blowing up of John Doe's house would arrest it, John 
Doe's lawful " castle " would be blown up. J. D. 
might give good reasons to show that the flames would 
presently be arrested without that measure ; but if it 
were probable that two houses might be saved by de- 
stroying this one, it would be done. In such emergen- 
cies the scale of values rules. The cow-shed must be 
sacrificed for the cabin, the cabin for the mansion, the 
mansion for two mansions. 

Thus no advantage could be so small but it would, by 
martial law, justify the destruction of Slavery. If by 
abolishing the unmitigated curse of this land the life of 
one soldier could be saved, we should be the murderers 
of that soldier if we did not abolish it. If by slaying 
this pursuing demon we could bring peace to the coun- 
try ten minutes sooner than without it, we should be 
traitors to civilization if we did not do it. For the 
one soldier's life, the ten minutes' additional peace, 
would be worth something ; the infernal thing we 
should pay for these must be reckoned worth less than 

In war Slavery is the strength op the South.— 
The institution of Slavery, which in time of peace is 
a weakness of the South, is in time of war, and un- 


touched by us, strong enough to equal the numbers and 
means of the North. It has not yet been sufficiently 
considered that war and Slavery naturally consort ; war 
was the cradle of Slavery ; the first slaves were war-cap- 
tives. In essence Slavery is the imposition of one will 
on another by physical force ; in that alone it differs 
from spontaneous or free labor. And war is but the 
acute form of the same disease. Slavery has been a 
perpetual training for the camp. 

Every man who leaves the North for the field of bat- 
tle is a laborer, and leaves so much derangement in the 
usual social integrity ; some wheel of the machine stops 
when he goes, and some deprivation ensues ; but in the 
South the war is the vent of idlers, giving aim to lives 
hitherto aimless. This military life is a step in advance 
for the South, which has already displayed energies of 
which it had not been suspected. The South will not 
get sick of war so soon as the North, it being quite 
atwin with its Slavery for the South to become formally 
a military country. Whilst the training of Freedom has 
led the North every day farther from war, every day 
of Slavery has accustomed the South to it. The North 
has to go back a hundred years to reach the plane of 
war ; the land of Slavery never was beyond it. 

In war all you have added to the world in a century 
is not only out of place, but in your way ; only the 
coarsest and rudest things avail here, and those who 
are most at home in the coarsest and rudest forces will, 
in a conflict of mere brute force, be apt to win. Now 


here are four millions of slaves working for the South. 
There being for military purposes corn and pork want- 
ed, and not arts and elegances, all the superiority of 
intelligent over unintelligent labor ceases. The man 
who can dig a row of corn or feed swine is equal to the 
finest mechanic. And since every man who produces a 
soldier's ration points the soldier at us, just as the sol- 
dier points his gun at us, these four millions of negroes 
must be counted as our foes, whatever their feeling 
toward us. 

The South is, then, at the start, twelve millions to our 
eighteen. But of our eighteen the women do not work 
in the field, and the children go to school, whereas the 
black women and minors do work in the field, — which, 
for military force, would make them nearly fifteen mil- 
lions. Then we must estimate production in its relation 
to consumption : the black laborer, being fed at less 
than a third the cost of the corresponding Northern 
laborer, sustains at least two more soldiers in the field 
than the Northerner. Thus does the reign of barba- 
rism reverse all the advantages of free over slave labor. 
In a conflict of mere brute force, Slavery has only to 
emphasize the old menace, fetter and bowie-knife, to 
which it is accustomed. 

The North has imagined that it could bring the bal- 
ance to its side by its superior wealth ; but it must be 
remembered, that those who get without paying for it 
what others have to pay for, are as rich as if they had 
the wherewithal to pay. Who would wish to be trou- 


bled with money, if lie could get things for a dollar a 
year spent in cowhides ? 

In the above estimate, which would make the con- 
tending parties in this country substantially equal in 
numerical force, it has not been forgotten that it is 
urged that a large portion of the Southern people are 
Unionists. Although the evidences of this seem to me 
slight, it would be, if true, of less bearing upon the 
question than might be at first supposed. For, no mat- 
ter what a man's sympathies may be, he cannot labor in 
any section but he adds to the wealth of that section, 
and to its military stores and strength. 



The sword has two edges ; one is turned toward the 
user, and never fails to give him a wound for each 
inflicted on his antagonist. 

What does the settlement of this conquest by mere 
military force imply to the Free States ? They say that 
our army is not thorough in its morale ; which means, 
that the young man who was graduated last year is yet 
too full of culture and civilization to butcher his fellow- 
beings after the most approved Texan style. He has 


not forgotten that his mother and his pastor taught him 
to overcome evil with good. The gentleman is still, to 
a melancholy extent, predominant in him, the horse 
and alligator sadly deficient. 

This moralization of the soldier is the demoraliza- 
tion of the man. War is the apotheosis of brutality. 
Looking into the past, we see it as a climax of horrors 
when a harlot is borne through the streets of Paris, 
proclaimed the Goddess of Reason ; but to-day, should 
the war end, the masses would seize the man whose 
hand reeked most with human blood, and bear him on 
their shoulders to the White House. 

Should we continue this war long enough, we shall 
become the Vandals and Hessians the South says we 

Every great achievement of civilization is in the way 
of war, and must be abridged. Konig of Germany has 
given it as his opinion, that distinguished generalship 
is inconsistent with the existence of the telegraph: in 
our war, both sides are cutting down all telegraph-lines 
which they cannot hold under military censorship. 

The freedom of the press has been proved impossi- 
ble in time of war. 

The trial by jury — the coat of mail which Character 
has worn for ages — is torn away. 

The Habeas-Corpus writ — " the high-water mark of 
English liberty" — is of arbitrary application. 
. A short time ago we were all uttering our horror 
of the prize-ring, with its brutalities. Now George 


Wilkes announces that our frowning down the P. R. 
has crippled our military energies as a nation, and 
that it must be restored. Logic seconds his motion. 

Here is Christianity itself, the civilization of relig- 
ion: for its more genial teaching the world gave up 
the gods of battles, Jah and Jove with their thunder- 
bolts, Mars with his spear, Odin with his sword. But 
War bids it recede : " You have heard that it hath 
been said, ' Thou shalt love thine enemy,' but I, War, 
say unto thee, ' Kill thine enemy.' " 

Thus one by one these crown-jewels of our Human- 
ity must be dimmed or exchanged for paste. 

War stands before us to-day a fatal despot, knowing 
no law but the passion of the moment, prostrating the 
Century before the Hour ; takes the pen and plough 
from our hand, and gives us a sword ; melts types into 
Lullets ; takes away the Golden Rule, and re-establishes 
the law of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. 

With a new, wild joy all true hearts in this land 
were thrilled when the millions of the North rose up 
and declared to Slavery, Here shall thy waves be 
stayed ! There were many reasons for such joy : first, 
that there was a North, when we feared there was 
none ; next, that the disease of the country, which we 
had feared was chronic, had assumed an acute form, 
which is always more hopeful. We were glad, because 
we knew that this war was really the most pacific state 
of things which this country had ever known. We 


knew also that a single day of Slavery and its rule in 
this country witnessed more wrong, violence, corrup- 
tion, more actual war, than all that civil war even 
could bring ; (which conviction in my own mind, as 
one having lived all my life in the midst of or near that 
institution, I here declare unshaken by any disasters we 
have encountered.) 

A gorilla is an admirable animal, looked at prospec- 
tively from the crocodile point of view ; and so when a 
nation which had for years been crawling in the mud 
before an insolent usurper leaped to its feet, and forgot 
in a great moment the wretched prey for which it had 
crawled, it was an hour for paeans only. Every prin- 
ciple had been paid down for outward unity, — a unity 
preserving both hands, both feet, only to enter with 
both into hell-fire ; but now a line was graven on the 
earth, and the nation declared it would perish rather 
than compromise again. The first grand step was to 
have the nation committed to an uncompromising atti- 
tude toward this rebellion ; to make the determination 
to* overcome it, at whatever physical cost, irrevocable. 

So much gained, the best method of overcoming the 
rebellion would be arrived at by further reflection and 
discussion. The war, in its proper time and place, was 
noble, because spontaneous and heroic ; but in this age 
and land it could only be an embryonic phase, to pass 
away before higher phases, which under its quick heats 
would speedily be developed. 

Every higher being must, ere it is born from the 

2* c 


egg, pass through preceding forms. Every crab must 
be a trilobite and a lobster before it is born a crab. 
Man himself must first resemble the lower beings. As 
these inferior shapes have pioneered the way for the 
higher in the earth, so do they now in each individual 
case. As pioneers they are essential ; but if the higher 
being forthcoming shall retain any of these inferior 
embryonic conditions, he is deformed ; as when a man 
has a hare's lip or ape's hand. But every deformity 
was right in its place ; every lip is at one period a 
hare-lip ; it is a deformity only when retained where 
a healthy development would have gone beyond it. 
The birth of a nation is not different. We have 
struggled by some phases which allied, us to lower 
governments : we must struggle by the war phase. 
The war is but the gorilla phase in our national em- 
bryo ; we must see that it does not linger longer 
than is needed to add its contribution to the national 
manhood. If, when the period of purely human 
power arrives, the sword remains, it were as if claw 
and fang remained when the period of tooth and hand 

Already there are unmistakable indications that the 
mere military enthusiasm in this contest is cooling, 
whilst the anxiety concerning the issue is deeper each 
day than the day before. Many of our soldiers who 
rushed to Washington had to be kept there by (what 
must be regarded) a forced decision of a United States 
judge ; it was easily seen that, if one man could claim 


the limit of enlistment, Washington would be left un- 
defended. There is no longer any activity in recruiting- 
stations ; and, in the West, recruiting itinerants are 
getting up revival meetings for the war. The appeals 
of these officers to the crowd resemble those of revi- 
valists imploring- the unconverted to be saved. In the 
same tones they beseech the youth to " close in with 
the overtures," to enlist before it shall be " awfully 
too late." The crowd usually remains still, as the de- 
praved too often do in the revival meetings. It is cer- 
tain that one or two more " Shilohs " will bring a draft 
upon these profoundly impenitent young men. 

In one of these meetings, in Central Ohio, I remem- 
ber a tremendous sensation which was produced by an 
old man, who arose and said that he had three sons, 
brave as anybody's sons, and he was willing to sacrifice 
them for his country; but he desired to be perfectly 
sure that they were not to be sacrificed to human slav- 
ery, or to preserve it in the land ; he would not sac- 
rifice their nail-pairings for that, or for the Union 
with that. 




There is nothing that the Devil so likes as that his 
antagonists should fight him with fire : the rascal 
knows that none can be so much at home where fire 
is concerned as he. 

The wise Book says, " Be not overcome of evil, but 
overcome evil with good." Every victory of evil over 
evil leaves me as much vanquished as my enemy. 
Every blow that gains me the victory as a brute, loses 
me the victory as a man. My foe may lie dead at my 
feet ; but beside him, in the dust I have made him bite, 
lies my crown of Reason, shattered. I could, then, find 
no wiser way of treating him than this. 

To begin on the lowest plane, we may well ask our- 
selves, what advantage it will be to us to occupy the 
cities, islands, and beaches of the Southern coast. The 
triple-headed monster of Southern fever will drive us 
away from there. Our government has hitherto occu- 
pied the Southern forts with Southerners, and even they 
only held them nominally in summer. Now our South- 
erners have left us. If Southerners themselves have 
to move away from their coasts in summer, how long is 
it likely that men who have gone South now for the 
first time can live there ? The sanitary committee has 
shown*that we have been losing soldiers simply by dis- 


ease at the rate of twenty-six regiments per annum: 
if we hold the points on the Southern coast now occu- 
pied by us, it will be at thrice that cost. 

Are we to enact the part of Sisyphus and his stone, 
— rolling the stone of conquest southward during one 
half of the year, to have it roll back again during the 
other half? 

Again : it is demonstrable that by any merely mili- 
tary victory (for that would leave Slavery undestroyed) 
we should be as much conquered as the rebels. 

My friend, Mr. Resist-the-Devil J. Browne, a descend- 
ant of one of the Pilgrims, and now a student at Cam- 
bridge, wrote me some time ago the following account 
of an event in that neighborhood : — 

" Lately, our little neighbor — the village of Som- 
erville — has been subjected to a terrible ordeal. Fancy 
the amazement of the villagers, on seeing a huge ana- 
conda marching leisurely down its main street ! It 
had, it seems, escaped from a circus exhibiting near the 

" Now, it is easy to see that a big snake, crawling 
through a small village, is scarcely conducive to the re- 
pose of mind of those resident therein. It is certain 
that the quiet of Somerville was disturbed ; indeed, 
the only quiet was in the streets, which were speedily 
deserted, whilst in the houses the liveliest commotion 
existed. Doors and windows were barricaded. The 
snake had all out of doors to himself. At last the vil- 
lage concluded to have a meeting ; which was held out 


of various up-stairs windows, the motions being made 
across streets. A man was appointed chairman on ac- 
count of his high position in society, — he being at the 
attic window of a four-story house, — and presently a 
motion proceeded from the dormitory of an adjacent 
cottage, that the male residents who had fire-arms 
should take them and go forth to pursue this enemy 
of the commonwealth of Somerville. The motion was 
put to the various windows by the chairman in the 
attic, and carried. The men buckled on their armor, 
and went forth. When they got toward the outskirts 
of the village, they saw his royal anacondaship snoozing 
in a fence corner. When the monster saw them, he 
crawled off, and hid himself under a barn. 

" The heroes returned to their homes, flushed with 
victory, — Veni, vidi, vici, in every eye ; they had pur- 
sued the foe, and he had fled before them ignominiously, 
the very Floyd of anacondas. ' Unbar your doors, ye 
noble matrons of Somerville,' they cried ; ' the victory 
of your sons is complete.' But one timid lady asked 
where the anaconda was. ' Under Mr. Smith's barn,' 
was the reply. Then this lady inquired modestly, ' But 
may not a snake that is under a barn come out from 
under a barn ? ' ' Sure enough ! ' ' Sure enough ! ' 
echoed from window after window ; and the lustre of 
victory was gone. The more it was thought of, the 
more it appeared that the anaconda was even more 
formidable concealed under the barn than in the mid- 
dle of the street. The young men watched around the 


barn till nightfall; the snake did not budge. They 
repaired, heavy-hearted, to their homes. Alas ! there 
was little rest in Somerville that night. All were 
sure they heard the snake trying their window-panes ; 
each was sure it was lying over the roof of his or her 
house. The morning came on aching eyes. None 
wished to go out of the door, sure that the snake was 
waiting to drop straight down from roof or tree on their 

" Day succeeded day, and that snake, snugly disposed 
under the barn, kept the whole village vanquished. 
People began to desert Somerville : expiring leases 
in that fated village were not renewed. Somerville 
began to lose its reputation as a desirable place of res- 
idence. Real estate began to suffer. People went 
not through, but around that village : cars did not stop 
at its ticket-office. The students at Cambridge used 
to take morning walks toward Somerville : now, their 
walks were in a precisely opposite direction. In short, 
there was a prospect that the whole population would 
soon have to be taken into the Lunatic Asylum of that 
devoted village. 

" At this juncture, a gentleman returned from a jour- 
ney to his home there, and, hearing the trouble, killed 
a pig and placed it a rod from the barn ; then he took 
his gun and got on top of the barn. With the ancient 
instinct of such devils to rush into swine, the snake 
soon made for the slaughtered animal. Then this man 
killed the snake. 


" It is said that the circus-manager rushed up and 
began an argument to show that it was a constitutional 
anaconda ; but the man declared that his gun was also 
constitutionally a gun, and fired away. 

" Who the man that killed the snake was, I have 
not yet learned : I have discovered, however, that he is 
not a member of the present Administration." 

Does a purely military victory contemplate, or can it 
effect, anything beyond driving the snake under the 
barn ? " But," one may say, " having got it under a 
barn, we can keep it there." Certainly: and if that 
is what life is given for, — to sit beside barns, watching 
snakes, — then it is all right; but if any member of 
the National Barn Guard, or of the 500th regiment of 
Snake-watchers of the future, should consider "the sit- 
uation" in the light of certain work he may have been 
in the habit of accomplishing, he may conclude that 
the snake is holding him, as much as he holds the 

When America has to swerve from the orbit of her 
destiny to stand guarding eight hundred thousand 
square miles of her territory from the ravages of rebel- 
lion ; when she has to hold her Union by military force ; 
when for this end our children must be turned aside 
from the noble aims fostered by free institutions and 
the arts of peace, drafted to swell and preserve the vast 
standing army which such a state of things would re- 
quire, — then America, degraded into a military nation, 


would be overcome of evil. Her victory would fetter 
most of all her own limbs. 

Even trade could not stand such a condition. The 
Northwest needs the Mississippi River, but it does not 
wish to sit forever, five hundred thousand strong, on 
the banks of that stream, to see that it does n't flow 
away again into a foreign land. Trade can use the 
river only by being able to leave it, and go home and 
trade in full faith that this river will remain loyal. 

It is this vanquished victory alone which the sword 
can by any possibility win for us. 

Has the sword ever done any but a partial and 
patched work ? In our American Revolution against 
England, war was declared as justly and prosecuted as 
successfully as ever before or since in the history of the 
world ; but our difficulties to-day prove that the sword 
did not do the work then assigned it cleanly. The 
sword had conquered victory and a forced peace ; but 
then it had to hold them ; in gaining colonial indepen- 
dence thus it had made a giant foe, who, it knew, would 
make other attempts at subjugation. So the Colonies, 
in order to combine against any possible attack from a 
foreign usurper, must surrender to an internal usurper. 
The Union was formed for the common defence ; it was 
more a military than a civil measure. It had to be 
made at once. The rights of man were compromised 
for the emergency ; for all the States must combine, 
whatever seeds of future disunion they might bring 
with them. We see to-day that this overswift formation 


which the revolutionary method, adopted by our fathers, 
compelled, illustrates once more the infallible law that 
they who take to the sword shall perish by the sword. 



A panther can slay seven men, if in the encounter 
the men have only the weapons of the panther : tooth to 
tooth, claw to claw, the men are inferior. But let one 
man encounter the panther, armed with his superiority 
to the panther, — let him bear in his hand his chemistry 
and art, in the fire-arm which the panther cannot invent 
or use, and he can slay the panther. 

Slavery having challenged Liberty, Liberty has been 
unwise enough to select Slavery's own weapons. But 
with these weapons Liberty's apparent victories will be 
defeats ; for though the panther be driven into its den, 
to hold it there would be the subversion of this govern- 
ment, i. e. its change into a government of military 
force. But let her be armed with her superiority to 
Slavery, and she is irresistible. 

The only legitimate weapon of Liberty is — Liberty. 

It is doubtful if the nation at large will be able to 
see how a bold, unconditional decree of emancipation 


would speedily and thoroughly suppress this rebellion. 
God always allows some margin for human magnanim- 
ity. If this nation saw success in such a measure, it 
would enact it ; so would any herd of cattle. Room is 
allowed man for the play of motives higher than policy ; 
his highest success comes only when he seeks first the 
kingdom of justice, and then finds that all other advan- 
tages are added thereunto. "Honesty," says Whately, 
" is indeed the best policy ; but no honest man ever 
acted on that principle." Indeed, it takes an honest 
man to find out such policy ; those see clearly how 
emancipation would end the war forever, who would 
emancipate in any case, because it is right. Yet prob- 
abilities can be shown in the direction of our method, 
which are far stronger than any indicating that war 
can win us even a military victory over the rebellion ; 
probabilities more numerous and sufficient than those 
on which human beings act in a majority of cases. 

There is a point in the South by touching which 
the entire military power of the South, is paralyzed. 
Nat Turner touched that point, and, with fifty negroes 
behind him, held the entire State of Virginia as if 
stricken by catalepsy for five weeks. John Brown 
touched it, and, with twenty-one men, so held Virginia 
that, had he had a fourth of McClellan's army, he could 
in one month have occupied the entire State. It be- 
came a proverb, that John Brown had demonstrated the 
weakness of Slavery. This huge machinery of armies 
and numbers is a barbarism ; it is as if we built great 


Eoman aqueducts, ignoring the modern discovery of 
the water-level, which makes a hydrant in one's yard 
answer the same purpose, or a better. It is a rude- 
ness far behind our civilization to think that numbers 
can conquer for us: numbers are as weak as they 
are strong. We are beyond that in our municipal 
governments. It is estimated that twenty policemen 
can conquer and disperse the largest riot or tumult 
that could occur in New York. Why ? Because each 
policeman has the moral power of the nation at his 
back, whilst the rioters are mere bits of chaos. We 
do not have to set one half of a city to keep the 
other half in order. I have seen a half-dozen burly 
ruffians led to prison by a man weaker than either 
of them, but who had an idea symboled in the star 
on his breast, whilst the ruffians had none. When 
our country has an idea in this war, it need only 
send South a moderate police force. Nat Turner 
and John Brown, with stars out of heaven on their 
breasts, holding commissions from Almighty God to 
put down the organic disorder in the South, proved 
that Slavery cannot stir but as Freedom permits it; 
but McClellan, with 700,000 men under him for six 
months, proved that men unarmed with ideas are as 
unable to cope with the kindled ferocity of wrong, 
as they are without guns to cope with half their num- 
ber of tigers. In a fearful sense our men are yet 

It is a common phrase with many of those who evi- 


dently think that the Union would be nothing without 
Slavery, that an edict of emancipation would not reach 
or free a single slave, and, to. use a favorite phrase 
with certain journals, " would not be worth the paper 
upon which it should be written." I observe, how- 
ever, that these always end their arguments by saying, 
For God's sake, do not try it ! It is quite remarkable 
how nervous they are, lest an edict should be put forth 
which could have no effect whatever. 

Have we considered well what would be the practical 
bearing if our government should declare every slave 
free? Slavery would by this stroke of the'' pen be ex- 
posed to the antislavery feeling of the world. If John 
Brown had a successor, he would march South under 
protection of the flag under which the old captain was 
hung. White and black crusaders would rise in Can- 
ada, Kansas, Ohio, Hayti, New England, following new 
hermit-leaders to rescue the holy places of humanity. 
Hayti would no longer need beg laborers to come to her 
shores, and pay them for coming : she need only send 
her ships to cruise near the inlets and creeks of the 
Southern coast, and pick them up as they should 

It is not to the point, observe, to say that such an 
edict would not at once free the slaves practically ; it 
would practically do a better thing, — it would recall to 
his home, where he ought to be, every soldier noiv in 
arms against the United States. It is manifest that the 
South would not be able to resist the antislavery cru- 


sade of the world, guarding its slaves from escape, and 
at the same time leave its homes to assassinate the lib- 
erties of the United States. All that a Southerner hath 
will he give for his slave ; and to that cord drawing 
him home would be added that panic which a whisper 
of insurrection can raise in that section to such an ex- 
tent that it drives all before it. In a single month 
there would be a distribution of all the forces of the 
Confederacy into various Home Guards. 

Perhaps I am more impressed with the conviction of 
the immediate potency of emancipation than persons 
reared in ttie North. I have seen the pallor which a 
whisper can bring upon the cheeks of hundreds. I 
know that a casual rumor has again and again deprived 
whole towns of a week's sleep. Negro insurrection is 
the name for every horror, simply because it is one of 
which the Southerners know nothing. It is doubtful 
whether, in all the insurrections in the South for a hun- 
dred years put together, five hundred slaves have been 
in actual insubordination. The present generation has 
seen nothing of the kind. That is the very reason why 
there is such a horror and panic about it : it is a vague, 
mysterious, and unknown evil. As far as the shudder 
about " covering the South with the horrors of insur- 
rection " is real, and not a traitorous pretence, it may 
be met by the fact that the history of insurrection 
throughout the world shows that in every case the bar- 
barity was chiefly on the part of the whites, and always 
provoked by them. In every case, twenty blacks have 


been butchered to one white. Of all the races now on 
earth, there is none so little cruel, so little bloodthirsty, 
as the negro ; that being why it has been for so 
many ages the enslaved race. The only dread we 
could have in an immediate emancipation of this race 
is, that the Confederate forces would rush home to mas- 
sacre their negroes. Doubtless they would ask the 
United States for a few months' truce for that purpose, 
— and as the family of fools is yet quite large and re- 
spectable, and most of them have managed to become 
generals in our army, there would be danger that our 
courteous McClellans, Hallecks, &c. would be "quiet" 
until the massacre should take place. But when we are 
up to such a master-stroke of justice, we shall be up to 
stripping the epaulets from negro-hounds and placing 
them on the shoulders of men. We should recognize 
in that call for a truce, which would surely come, God's 
invitation for us to march into the South the protectors 
of black and white, — an army of saviours, not of de- 
stroyers, — our glorious task to see that the transition- 
pangs of the South were safely passed, and her people 
born into light and liberty. 

Let none doubt that the slave is ready to stir in a 
way which will paralyze the armies of the South, as 
soon as he hears the true voice. I once asked a slave 
why it was that he and others did not escape : he 
replied, u Because, after getting out of the slave-holding* 
States, we must either drive under or fly over all the 
slave-hating- States from here to Canada." Let Canada 


be carried wherever our flag goes ; nay, let every slave 
be empowered and authorized to make the spot on 
which he stands Canada. 

The South has not a misgiving that her slaves are 
not generally asleep to these issues. I have heard of a 
Southerner who, having a Northern visitor before whom 
he was showing off Slavery in clean linen, finally 
alleged that his slaves were so happy that nothing could 
induce them to accept their freedom. To make the 
experiment perfect, he, in the presence of the Northern 
man, offered them their freedom if they desired to 
leave him. Every one of them said he would accept 
freedom. Whereupon the master swore at them as 
fools who did not know what was good for them, 
ordered them to their work, and in future exhibitions 
before Yankees never attempted the manumission-trick. 
Fortunately for him, the Yankee had already taken 
South-side views of the institution. 

When John C. Fremont was a candidate for the 
Presidency there was no portion of the South where 
the watchword " Freedom and Fremont " was not heard 
at midnight. The South was on the verge of panic. 
Lately, when that same man was in the Western Depart- 
ment, that cry from the slaves was echoed from planta- 
tion to plantation all along the Mississippi, Tennessee, 
and Red Rivers ; and so frequent was it at last, that the 
apprehension reached the semi-loyal of the Tennessee 
and Kentucky border, who acted up through all the 
shades of disloyalty and loyalty, until the panic of rebels 


was felt at the Capitol, and removed the Warrior of Lib- 
erty from his command. 

By that removal, and by the infamous proclamations 
and wanton renditions by which our officers have hu- 
miliated us even more than by their wretched in- 
competency, we have doubtless alienated these negroes 
from us. So that our task, at first easy, is now difficult. 
But it is certain that we need only let the slaves along 
the border know our good faith, to have the tidings 
flash through the South all along the lines of nature's 
telegraph ; the way to do this, is to free the slaves of 
the Border States immediately. 

When I first came North, I used to maintain stoutly, 
with my companions, that the slaves did not desire 
freedom. More than twenty years had I lived amongst 
those dumb creatures, never dreaming that any one 
of them had a thought of freedom. But when I re- 
turned South I found that they not only knew, what 
few whites knew, that I was antislavery, but they were 
eager to consult me as to how they might escape. 
All this took me by surprise ; I had never hinted free- 
dom to one of them, and it was in one of the obscur- 
est parts of Virginia, where Northerners never came ; 
then I saw, for the first time, that the whole social 
system of the South is undermined. 

The South does not as yet fully comprehend her 
own weakness. But she knows that every warrior 
has his vulnerable heel. Our only danger is, that, 
before our slow Northmen are ready to act, the 

3 i> 


South will suspect this her danger, and will cover it 
up with a decree of emancipation for all able-bodied 
men who will bear arms for the Confederacy. That 
would free nearly 500,000 negro men, which would 
be a cheap price to pay for a victory over the North, 
which would give them power to recover the emanci- 
pated half-million by reopening the slave-trade, and 
would not impair Slavery at all. (For I do not believe 
the South would give up Slavery for anything !) The 
children, by the codes of all slave states, follow the con- 
dition of the mother, and such a decree would manumit 
no women. 

No bid that we could then make for these negroes 
would bring them to our side ; for they would then 
be under military rule, and animated by the spirit of 
the contest. The power that is nearest is that which 
they have most faith in ; a distant, less imposing power 
might double the offer with no effect. 

There is one man in the South who has his eye 
steadily on the watch in this direction. Jefferson Davis 
has no faith whatever in the fondness of the negro for 
his condition. 

A few years ago an artist of Philadelphia was en- 
gaged by the State of South Carolina to prepare some 
national emblematic picture for her State-House. Jef- 
ferson Davis was requested to act with the South Caro- 
lina committee in criticising the studies for this design. 
The first sketch brought in by the artist was a design 
representing the North by various mechanic imple- 


ments, the West by something else, whilst the South 
was represented by various things, the centrepiece, 
however, being a cotton-bale with a negro upon it, 
fast asleep. When Jeff saw it he said, " Gentlemen, 
this will never do : what will become of the South 
when that negro wakes up ? " 

The first blast from the trump of universal Freedom 
will reveal to Jeff and his Confederates that the negro 
has already waked up; also, which is more important, 
that the North is waked up ; then will our army go 
marching on to bloodless victory, — trampling scourges, 
not men, breaking fetters, not hearts. 

Ah, what tongue can celebrate a victory so glorious; 
a victory which would restore to our firesides the lost 
links of their circles ; which would touch the blighted 
lands of the South as by a magic wand, until its desert 
should rejoice and blossom as the rose ; which should 
clasp the broken arch between North and South with 
the infrangible keystone, eternal Justice ! 




A Bohemian story relates, that Horace Greeley was 
lately travelling on a steamer, when a High-Church 
Episcopalian minister, who was on board, became much 
exercised concerning his (Greeley's) soul. At length 
this clergyman approached H. G., and, in a solemn 
voice, said, " Friend, may I inquire if you have ever 
been baptized?" "Well, no," replied Greeley, "not 
exactly; but I've been vaccinated." 

Gradual emancipation has about as much to do with 
putting down this rebellion through Slavery, as vacci- 
nation has with baptism. 

The war power alone gives the President the right 
even to touch Slavery in the States with his little 
finger, as he has done ; and the military advantage 
which he sees and assigns as a reason for his late 
proposition to co-operate in emancipation with slave 
States, is sufficient to justify abolition by the war power. 

It is thus one of the Commander-in-Chiefs guns ; 
and to make it gradual would be like firing off a gun 
a little at a time, — if that were possible. 

So far as emancipation will help us to crush this 
rebellion, no gradual plan which was ever conceived 
and tried can do us the least good. Any measure 
which leaves the slave bound at all to his Southern 


master, keeps him there adding to the wealth and 
support and military power of the hostile section. 
And if four millions of these laborers remain to furnish 
these supplies to the enemy, the South will be able to 
keep in the field all their white population, and, what- 
ever advantages we may gain, their rebellion will sur- 
vive the youngest person in this nation. 

But, looking at the matter apart from the national 
emergency, and simply as a question of political econo- 
my, to say that gradual emancipation is better for all 
is to throw away all the light of experience in this 
matter. Negro slaves have within this century been 
emancipated in seven or eight countries. And if there 
is one thing in which all reports agree, it is, that 
wherever the thing was done in any half way, the coun- 
try suffered in exports and imports ; wherever it was 
done cleanly, immediately, and unconditionally, the 
country never failed to reap a full and immediate 
reward. Whilst the island of Jamaica, under the grad- 
ual plan, groaned under its losses, the adjacent islands 
which made a clean sweep of Slavery saw their five 
talents at once swell to ten. Russia is now undergoing 
the same experience with its serfs, who, kept in limbo 
between Slavery and Liberty, have proved such a bur- 
den that the taskmasters are crying out to the Czar to 
have them given equal rights or none at all. 

Homer nodding. I allude to the Rev. Homer 
Wilbur, of the Atlantic Monthly. Many a noble refrain 
of freedom, which lingers in our hearts in the watches 


of the night, which greets the rising day, must be traced 
to this Homer ; but lately it would seem that his Muse 
threatens to reverse the story of Undine, and gradually 
lose her soul* What else can be said concerning his 
Polliwog fable ? This fable compares those who would 
declare Slavery at an end, so far as this government 
is concerned, to those philotadpoles who, impatient at 
the slow growth by which Nature leads polliwog to 
frog, insisted on cutting off the tails of the former. 
After this Homer writes : " I would do nothing hastily 
or vindictively, nor presume to jog the elbow of Provi- 
dence. No desperate measures for me till we are sure 
that all others are hopeless, — Jlectere si nequeo supe- 
bos, Acheronta movebo" 

In other words, the slaughter at Manasses, Ball's 
Bluff, Winchester, Shiloh, are mild measures ; these 
are appeals to the gods ; but to release millions from 
dungeons, fetters, auction-blocks, and raise them to life, 
this is a " desperate measure," this is to " move hell " ! 

Is it possible that any cataract should have been so 
far formed over this once clear eye, that it now sees a 
state of Slavery to be a normal phase in the condition 
of human beings ? Homer, once you sang as if you 
saw that Slavery, and not emancipation, was the mur- 
derous lopping off of the poor polliwog's tail ! 

So far as the principle, 

" From lower to the higher next, 
Not to the top, is Nature's text, 

is concerned, it is certainly true. Only, to apply it in 


the present case as against immediate emancipation gives 
an odd suggestion of a Sleepy Hollow somewhere near 
Cambridge. Does Homer remember nothing of the 
long and fearful years in which we have gone — God 
knows how wearily and slowly — from step to step up 
to this our Commencement-Day ? To speak of emanci- 
pation now as hasty, or a leap over essential steps, is as 
if Homer should go to the next Senior who, having 
made his graduation speech, at the end of a full Col- 
lege course, is about to receive his diploma, and say : 
" My dear young man, festina lente ! You must n't 
think of a diploma until you have been here four 
years yet. Come over, — our Ollendorf class meets 
at ten now." 

Or here, say, is an old tree which has been slowly 
rotting, until a breath only may bring it to the earth ; 
now, merely because it falls with a crash, and the 
splinters fly, shall we accuse the blithe breeze which 
did the work of being a revolutionary tornado, moving 
Acheron ? 

Let us trust that Providence will " presume to jog 
the elbow " of Homer, that he may no longer nod 
whilst the first page in God's account with America 
is closing, and when it is plain that upon the virtue 
and earnestness of the current hour it must depend 
whether there shall be any balance in favor of this 
nation to be carried to the fresh page, or to entitle 
it to further trust. 




We are told, with a frequency and vehemence which 
so simple a proposition could scarcely be supposed to 
evoke, that " this is a war for the Union." We can 
account for the vehemence by the supposition that this 
sentence has a reverse side, which is, that " this is not 
a war for emancipation." 

We do not need a war for emancipation. Slavery 
is the creature of positive law ; it is maintainable only 
by systematic force. Only withdraw the positive sup- 
ports of Slavery, — only let the government declare 
that it will henceforth ignore the relation of master 
and slave, — and Slavery falls by its own weight. 

But has not this idea of a " war for the Union " its 
comic side ? I once knew of a father's whipping his 
child because the child did not love him so well as 
it did its nurse, and it seemed to me an odd way to 
cultivate filial affection ; but is it not so that we are 
recovering unity with the South ? If that Union had 
not been already dead, surely we have sent artillery 
enough down there to have killed it several times. 
Whether we shall succeed with our arms or not, it 
would be a corpse that we conquered, galvanize it as 
we might. My theory of General McClellan is, that 
he has just sense enough to see that, the object as- 


signed being to restore the Union, the more he should 
fight, the less Union he would have. He had proba- 
bly concluded that harmony was more likely to come 
by his sitting on the Potomac and waiting for it to 
turn up ; and he might have been sitting there still 
if the country had not been of a different opinion. 

Andy Johnson goes to Tennessee, and pleads with 
that people to see that the old Union is re-established 
in that State, and his leading argument to them is 
that Slavery, now in a precarious condition, will there- 
by be secured more firmly than ever. In the present 
representative position of Mr. Johnson, we must con- 
clude that our government would be only too happy 
to clasp the broken arch with the old keystone which 
has just crumbled. But there are two classes in this 
country, either of which holds the balance of power, 
which will take care that no such reunion takes place. 
One class resides in the Cotton States. The Cab- 
inet need never hold any love-feasts for Jeff and his 
companions. In Ireland, where the priests pray over 
the little fields of the peasantry to assist their fertil- 
ity, a priest once came to a particularly barren and 
hard-looking patch of ground, and said, " Brethren, 
there 's no use in praying here ; this needs manure." 
I think when Father Abraham looks over the fence 
of the Cotton States, if he ever does, he will come to 
a similar conclusion about the efficacy of pardoning 
grace. The other class which, should the South sub- 
mit to-morrow, would prevent any return to the old 


Union, is the class of honest freemen throughout the 
land. The battle of Armageddon is one that never 
ceases. Let the Cabinets at Washington and Richmond 
join again around the communion-table, with the blood 
of the Christ crucified between them upon it, — and 
the old siege of Liberty against the Union, which 
has been raised for a moment, begins again. Garrison, 
the old standard-bearer, will unfurl his banner of Dis- 
union, which he keeps only tucked away in the Lib- 
erator room, as Bennett of the Herald keeps the Con- 
federate flag. The clear bugle of Phillips sounds the 
old martial call again. And all along the sky sleep- 
ing thunders will awaken, and ten thousand trumpets 
proclaim that the siege against the ancient wrong is 
renewed, — the siege whose arrows are thoughts, whose 
shells are fiery inspirations of truth, whose sword is 
the Spirit of a just God. All this will go on until the 
ballot-box is conquered again, and some such man as 
Wendell Phillips is elected President. Then another 
Sumter gun will be heard. Then will come the war 
of which the present is but a picket skirmish. John 
Brown will be commanding general of all our forces 
then ; and all will not be quiet on the Potomac. His 
soul will go marching on ; 't is a way it has. 

For I fear that over the eye of this nation Slavery 
has gradually formed a hard cataract, so that it can- 
not see the peace and glory which are an arm's-length 
before it, — a cataract which only the painful surgery 
of the sword can remove. If it be so, we can only 


say, — Bleed, poor country! Let thy young men be 
choked with their blood ; let the pale horse trample 
loving hearts and fairest homes ; if only thus thou 
canst learn that God also has his government, and 
that all injustice is secession from that government, 
which his arm of might will be sure to crush out ! 

Those who oppose the method of emancipation allege 
that it would exasperate the South to the utmost, 
would alienate them forever from us, would unite the 
Border States with them, and unite them all against 
us as one man. 

The fear of exasperating the South reminds one 
of the toper, who said that, when it got to be twelve 
o'clock of the night, he did not care when he went 
home ; for his wife was by that time as mad as she 
could be, and an hour or so made no difference. 
The South has about filled the gamut of wrath. Nor 
have we seen much difference in its treatment of such 
Southern pro-slavery men as General Anderson and 
his brother Oharles, and, antislavery men. So far as 
our experience in this war goes, they had as lief a man 
should be a Garrisonian as a Lincolnite. 

So far as the objection relates to the supposition 
that an edict of emancipation would turn the Border 
States against us, it, being military, may easily be 
met as such by the fact that, even if a million people 
became estranged from us, (the very largest estimate,) 
such an edict would at once bring four million (the 


slaves) to our side. And mark the difference between 
those who would go and those who would come. 

The million who went would prove by their going 
that they were pretended, or at least half-hearted, 
friends ; they would show that their loyalty was but a 
cover for the preservation of Slavery, — that the Union 
meant for them nothing, if not human chattels. The 
four millions who would be riveted to our side by 
this one blow would be those upon whom we might 
depend, since their every possible interest would then 
be involved in our success. Now, it is the interest 
of the negro that the country should be divided, un- 
less he is to be emancipated; for disunion would at 
least bring Freedom's southern line down to Mason 
and Dixon's. 

The million who would abandon our cause would 
be chiefly on the border, within territory already under 
military occupation ; their disaffection would only need 
a little more vigilance on our part, and that would 
be a wise thing in any case. The four millions who 
would be our determined co-laborers front that moment 
are chiefly in disloyal territory under rebel* occupation ; 
they are there where we are striving, by expensive 
and perilous expeditions, to carry Union men ; and by 
being salable property they are protected as no other 
soldiers we could have there would be. 

Thus, even so far as the two are of military impor- 
tance, the emancipation method offers far more than 
the mere fighting method. But there is another force 


brought into the action by emancipation which would 
change this war of disunion into a putting forth of 
unifying energies, which would be as irresistible in 
establishing our social unity as are our mountains 
and valleys and rivers in establishing our geographi- 
cal unity. 



It is one of the signs of the times, that the revolu- 
tion was strong enough to take up bodily the Sage 
of Concord, and set him in the capital of this nation 
to instruct our rulers. The advice he gave them 
may be summed up in the one sentence, Hitch your 
wagon to a star! 

Why not, Mr. President ! You have some difficulty 
in making things go, possibly have some doubt as to 
whether they can be made to go ; but if you could 
manage to hitch the Union to a star, that will be sure 
to move. If you can get the laws op nature to aid 
in the reunion of North and South, you need not 
fear any Confederate efforts at keeping them apart. 

The very intensity and virulence of the hatred which 
the South has for the North suggest that the feeling 


is extremely morbid, and not very deep. It is not 
deliberate, nor based on any actual difference, and 
for that very reason must make up in violence what 
it lacks in the nature of things. This hatred also 
has sprung up too quickly to have much depth or 
genuineness. It was within a comparatively recent 
period that the South was one with the North. We 
are of the same blood ; our fathers were within our 
memory united. Section has intermarried with sec- 

There has been but one Satanic divider who has 
opened a chasm between us, — Slavery. The interests 
of Slavery cannot be made the interests of free society ; 
and there cannot be one institution of free society — 
such as the free press, and free speech, and free school 
— which is not a bomb-shell for Slavery. Free society 
being necessarily a continual assault upon Slavery, 
Slavery hates the North. It is not the Southern man, 
it is the virus of Slavery in his veins, which hates the 
North ; as the Indian plead before the court, that not 
he, but the whiskey, committed the murder. Take that 
virus away, my Northern friend, and he is a Saxon 
man, she a Saxon woman, like yourself. 

The writer of these pages was reared in the midst 
of hatred and contempt of the Northern people, and 
did himself hate and despise them cordially during 
all his early youth ; he held it to be his highest ambi- 
tion to assist in severing that section from the North. 
But fortune led him to a year's residence in a little 


Quaker settlement where Slavery did not exist, and 
which consequently was an oasis upon a Slavery-wasted 
desert; and with this one step out of the atmosphere 
of Slavery, with the first glance of doubt toward that 
institution, a cloud of illusions cleared up, the antipa- 
thy to Northern men disappeared, and he experienced 
a revulsion in their favor which did them even more 
than justice. 

He knows, moreover, the leaders of the Southern 
Eebellion, many of them personally, all of them by 
character, and knows them to be very earnest mad- 
men ; he knows that the North can, by sealing up 
the one source of madness and disunion which has 
within a few years brought about this alienation, 
wither it up forever. 

France and England had a much longer and more 
rancorous feud than this between the North and the 
South. u I will fight a Frenchman," said Lord Nel- 
son, " wherever I can find him ; wherever he can 
anchor, my ship shall be there." But a year of a 
common interest made them allies ; lately their sov- 
ereigns exchanged visits ; and it is the estimate of 
the best judges that the current generation will bear 
to its grave all memory of the feud between the 
English and the French. 

Men will love, and if need be die for, that by which 
they and their families live. If Slavery is the basis 
of their homes ; if from slave institutions comes the 
bread that sustains the life of wife and child, then 


they will fight and 'die for Slavery. If the home, 
the bread of wife and child, are derived from free 
institutions, then for these men will fight and die. 
Did we only compel the people of the South to get 
their daily bread from free institutions, in less than 
five years they would be ready to fight and die by 
our sides for free institutions. They would call the 
Yankees by hard names for some years after, no doubt, 
but there could be no war between the sections: on 
the contrary, every healing influence in the universe 
would be at work to cure these lacerations made by the 
tomahawk of Slavery, which would then be buried. 

When Freedom folds her blessed wings over both 
North and South, then every steamer, every car, every 
telegraphic line plying between them, will be a shuttle 
ceaselessly weaving together the hearts of their mil- 
lions into one woof of interest and affection. 

But who can enumerate or utter one in a thousand 
of the unswerving, all-compelling laws with which those 
who trust in Everlasting Justice ally themselves : stead- 
fast upon their orbits, my masters, these stars will 
surely move, and no Southern Sisera shall be a match 
for them in their courses. But we must hitch our 
cause to them : the Sage said, — We cannot bring the 
heavenly powers to us, but if we will only choose 
our jobs in directions in which they travel, they will 
undertake them with the greatest pleasure. It is a 
peremptory rule with them, that they never go out 
of their road. 




A Greek fable relates, that when Hercules and 
Achelous fought together, Achelous changed himself 
into the form of a mad bull, thinking to contend more 
strongly ; but Hercules retained the form of a man, 
and, seizing the horn of the bull, it broke off in his 
hand, and became the celebrated cornucopia. 

One very obvious interpretation of this fable is, that 
it is always best to take the bull by the horns. But 
I use it for the ancient testimony it conveys in favor 
of the superiority of the purely human power over 
the greatest animal ferocity. 

How rarely has Slavery, in its violent advance, been 
met in the manly way ; how much oftener by the 
fawning of hounds! And it is just this unmanly at- 
titude which the representatives of the North have so 
long assumed that has invited the arrogant demands 
of Slavery which are now resisted with bloodshed. 
Mr. Groodall, of Cleveland, Ohio, under affidavit to 
prove John Brown's insanity, related that once, when 
on the cars with him, they fell into some conversation 
concerning Slavery, and in reply to some of Brown's 
radicalism, " I attempted," says Goodall, " to point 
out a more conservative course, remarking very kindly 
to him that Kentucky, in my opinion, would have 


been a free State ere this, had it not been for the ex- 
citement and prejudices engendered by ultra abolition- 
ists of Ohio. At this remark, he rose to his feet, with 
clenched fist, eyes rolling like an insane man (as he 
most assuredly was), and remarked, that the South 
would become free within one year, were it not that 
there were too many such scoundrels as myself to 
rivet the chains of Slavery." Innocent Goodall of 
Cleveland ! how little did you know that you were 
seeing a picture then which Art and Poetry will com- 
bine to celebrate as one of the first gleams of sanity 
out of a nation's long lunacy ! That remark of 
Brown's is precisely the sanest I ever heard. If the 
North went South nobly, Slavery would clear away 
like a phantom of night. Whatever be the faults of 
Southerners, they do like those who stand up squarely 
for their principles ; in all my life in the South, I 
never remember to have heard a dough-face in the 
North spoken of otherwise than with contempt. 

Let me relate a conversation literally as it occurred a 
few years ago in Richmond, Virginia. Some New York 
lawyer had in the case of the Lemmon slaves, which 
involved a principle important to the South, argued the 
case successfully for Lemmon and Slavery. He then 
came down to Virginia to be lionized. A dinner was 
given in Richmond by persons connected with the Leg- 
islature, to which this lawyer was invited. Here is 
the conversation, just as it occurred across the table 
from the lawyer, between two members : — 


1st Member. " I don't think much of that man." 

2d Member. " Nor I." 

1st Mem. " He is n't a gentleman ; but it 's well 
enough to have such men up North." 

2d Mem. " They 're useful enough." 

1st Mem. " Tom, why is it they never raise any 
gentlemen up North ? " 

2d Mem. " 0, 1 've been North, and I tell you they 
do have gentlemen ; but then they 're all damned 

Virginia said to Edward Everett, " I envy not the 
heart or the head of the man who, trained amid free 
institutions, comes down to defend Human Slavery " ; * 
to John Brown Virginia said, " He is firm, truthful, 
intelligent, — the gamest man I ever saw." f 

Sitting, last summer, in the porch of a hotel at New- 
port, Rhode Island, I heard the original conversation 
between a Northerner and Southerner which W. Shake- 
spere has travestied by premeditation in the following 
conversation between Hamlet and Polonius : — 

"Ham. Do you see yonder cloud, that 's almost in 
the shape of a camel ? 

" Pol. By the mass, and 't is like a camel, indeed. 

" Ham. Methinks it is like a weasel. 

" Pol. It is backed like a weasel. 

" Ham. Or like a whale. 

" Pol. Very like a whale." 

The Hamlet in this case was a wealthy semi- 

* John Eandolph of Roanoke. t Henry A. Wise. 


Southerner, with Secession sympathies, thinly disguised 
under a few star-spangled phrases ; the compliant Po- 
lonius was from Boston, — where the largest and the 
smallest things are said and done of any place on this 
continent. In Boston you shall find your noblest and 
your meanest man ; there you shall find the faithful 
Senator who will stand for Freedom until he is strick- 
en down, and there the creature who will touch glasses 
with the assassin of his own Senator within two squares 
of the prostrate form. We had brutes enough in Cin- 
cinnati to mob Wendell Phillips ; but no man who 
could write a sentence could be found here who would 
justify it : the mob had to go to Beacon Street, Bos- 
ton, for a defender ; the Courier was ready to do 
their work! But where else could we have" found a 
Phillips ? 

But, to return, the conversation between the two 
men in Newport, both persons of distinction, was ex- 
actly given in the extract from Hamlet. The Bos- 
tonian atoned for saying that he favored the Union, 
by allowing every noble idea and name of America, 
and especially of his own State, to be vilified in his 

When is this contemptible and cowardly abasement 
to end ? Will the line of such poltroons hold out to 
the crack of doom? I add my testimony to that of 
Miss G-rimke, Mr. Helper, Mattie Griffith, and other 
natives of the South who have caught a glimpse of 
the monster, whose coils have been tightening about 


the dear land they have been compelled to leave, and 
who are doing their utmost to rescue it ; with them 
I declare, that I have known nothing so heart-sick- 
ening, so chilling, so utterly diabolical, as that which 
calls itself conservatism in the North. 

When I first sat foot in New England, I met, at a 

table in Boston, the Hon. Mr. . Hearing that I 

was from the South, he instantly turned his attention 
to me, and began a series of adulations of Southern 
institutions and people ; apologizing for his own re- 
gion ; sneering at the liberal men of New England, 
as a very small band of crazy folk ! What deathly 
colds fell on me then I pray may never fall on 
him! Through how many toils and struggles had I 
come to rest upon the free heart of New England ; 
by what weary marches and flinty paths had I come to 
do homage to those men at whom he was sneering, as 
to heralds of this nation's promised land ! I turned, 
and told him plainly that he had mistaken my opin- 
ions, which were not those common in the South ; 
and that I could not help thinking that such dispar- 
agements of free men and institutions, on the part 
of those whom they had fostered, were like tempting 
with alcohol an inebriate whose family is starving 
at home. 

I have in my mind a case of a very different kind. 
It was, I believe, about eight years ago that I was 
consulted by a committee at New Haven as to whether 
I knew any gentleman in the South who would be 


willing to deliver a lecture in New Haven in defence 
of the institution of Slavery. My mind fixed upon 
George Fitzhugh, of King George County, Va., who 
had written works on the "Failure of Free Society," 
and "The Sociology of the South." Mr. Fitzhugh 
went to New Haven, and gave, on the evening of his 
arrival, a lecture entitled, "Free Society a Failure." 
Wendell Phillips was present, and heard the lecture, 
and Mr. Fitzhugh evidently took pleasure in seeing 
him. Fitzhugh's method of proving Free Society a 
failure was by theories and speculations which had 
got into the crevices and under the eaves of his brain, 
like the bats in the rickety old mansion, situated on 
the fag-end of a once noble estate, in which he re- 
sided. This spot of " the sacred soil " he had never 
left for a month, and of Free Society, of course, 
knew nothing. At New Haven he fell, I am happy 
to say, into very different * hands from those of the 

Hon. Mr. of Boston, or of Polonius at Newport. 

He was the guest of that honest and noble man, if 
God ever made one, the late Mr. Samuel Foote. On 
the next morning after the lecture, Mr. Foote took 
Mr. Fitzhugh in a buggy, and drove throughout the 
beautiful town of New Haven and its environs ; showed 
him houses and cottages which would be marvels of 
elegance in Virginia, and informed him, without any 
allusion to log-cabins, that many of these mansions 
belonged to mechanics, and some even to day-labor- 
ers. Fitzhugh was thunder-stricken. He had proved 


Free Society a failure without ever leaving his State ; 
nobody replied to him, but he went home answered. 
He always preserved an ominous silence about the 
visit; but he acknowledged his mistake about North- 
ern society, and though before that he had invaria- 
bly printed a pamphlet every six months in favor of 
the u Sociology of the South," I believe he has not 
penned a line of the kind since. The grave and im- 
pressive rebuke of Samuel Foote, who simply said 
that he "would take him (Fitzhugh) out to see how 
Free Society had failed," was never lost. Mr. Foote 
was a gentleman in an old sense, which is sometimes 
forgotten even in scholastic Boston ; that is, he was 
gentle, but always man. 

If Northern men would oftener refrain from abne- 
gating their manhood and slandering their own coun- 
try, — did they act this manly and gentle part toward 
Southern men, — I can imagine many benefits which 

must flow from such a course. The South would 

respect the North, and the sentiment of the North. 

The South always believed that the North would cringe 

to the last, as she had been doing for fifty years. 

What say you, gentlemen, are we done cringing ? 

Or is Mr. Vallandigham and his posture to be first 

endured, then pitied, then embraced, — as, according 

to the poet, is the way with moral monsters ? "I do 

not trust him," said Richelieu of the soldier; " he 

bows too low." Hamlet never despises Polonius 

more than when the latter fools him to the top of 


his bent. Had the North been determined, outspoken, 
and faithful to herself, she must have been faithful 
also to the South, and might have averted the tumor 
which now eats into her Southern brother's heart, in- 
stead of fostering it. 

" What mighty matter," says the Brahmin, " is the 
subjugation of the sea-girt earth to those who cannot 
subdue themselves." Not until we have conquered 
this dapperness and inhumanity in ourselves ; not 
until the North ceases to ask what shall be done 
with negroes ; not until the infamy of Illinois Black 
Laws is held to be deeper than Carolina Slave Laws, 
— can we gain any noble victory. Through self- 
control lies the only path to control; at present we 
have as yet to prove that we are worthy to win the 
victories of Liberty and Law. 

When the North rises fully to the stature of man- 
hood, and grasps the sharp horn of the Southern Ache- 
lous with a human hand, — no longer meeting horn 
with horn, — then that horn will break off, and become 
for this nation the horn of plenty. A touch of pure 
humanity can make this Rebellion yield a fruitage 
of peace, prosperity, and honor for which we might 
otherwise have had to wait a century. Ah, had we 
a Hercules, knowing that hand is stronger than horn, 
to guide us ! 




At a dinner given in Washington to Mr. Prentice, 
Mr. Secretary Smith, replying with warmth to some 
strong antislavery sentiments which had just been 
uttered by Mr. Cameron, said : " If we, being eigh- 
teen millions, cannot put down this rebellion of six 
millions without freeing their slaves, we ought to give 
the war up." 

Doubtless the Secretary, when he got off this bit of 
wisdom, had been paying more attention to his own 
Interior than to that of the country. 

Six bad men can burn up a half-dozen blocks of a 
city, and destroy a thousand lives, before they could be 
arrested. It would be a fine thing for such to retain 
at their trial Mr. Smith, whose opening position would 
be : " Gentlemen of the Jury, if several blocks of a city 
and hundreds of people cannot keep from being burnt 
up by six men, they ought to be burnt up ! " 

The remark brings before us the inequality of the 
combatants in this war. 

Some years ago Daniel Webster was challenged to 
a duel by some booby from Texas, (I believe,) whose 
range of ability was limited to the skilful use of rifle 
and bowie-knife. Mr. Webster was inclined to accept 
the challenge ; but his friends interfered, and declared 



that the stakes were unequal ; that such a brain as that 
of Daniel Webster's could not be risked against even 
many hundreds of Texans, much less this boor. They 
were willing that a certain mad bull at Marshfield 
should meet the Texan, but compelled Mr. Webster to 

The reading public is now reading with delight the 
exquisite delineations of Theodore Winthrop. You 
who have read " Cecil Dreeme," " John Brent," and 
" Edwin Brothertoft," think a moment of such an 
imagination, such culture, being at the mercy of some 
wretched little drummer-boy ! Where are his equals 
in the South? or those of Lyon, of Baker, or of Fitz- 
James O'Brien ? 

But these are minor inequalities, and we allude to 
them only to remember that there is a fearful inequality 
in the institutions which produce such men as those 
I have named, and those which produce Floyds and 
Twiggses in shoals, but to eight millions of men not 
one literary or scientific man of any importance. 

Americans! we have no right to imperil Liberty 
one hour, nor to allow it to remain in peril, that we 
may show the world that we can " whip the South." 
The point which the Secretary of the Interior raised is 
but a point of sectional vanity, and it is far beneath 
the tremendous issue in this crisis. Is it a point of 
pride with Freedom to prove that it excels Slavery as 
butcher of men ? When this war began, the successes 
were more frequently on the side of Slavery, and the 


wisest said : " There are glorious obstacles to the success 
of the North ! Free institutions do not breed the requi- 
site number of Floyds and Twiggses — thieves and trai- 
tors — for this work ; Freedom's sons cannot hate and 
sting like vipers ; they will not poison springs, and put 
up false banners to lure a foe into traps." There was 
room for some pride in that direction. But these glo- 
rious obstacles are fading ; the thirst for Southern blood 
grows ; and presently the North will be demoralized 
enough to equal the recklessness and spite of Slavery. 

Once, says a fable, there was a stag which had long, 
branching horns, of which it was very proud; but of 
its feet it was very much ashamed. One day this stag, 
pursued by hounds, found its despised feet quite ser- 
viceable ; and indeed the feet would have saved him 
had it not been for the horns of which he was so proud, 
for these becoming entangled in some bushes, the stag 
was overtaken by the hounds. 

The North can win no military laurels in this con- 
flict ; should it gain the victory, the world will see as 
little glory in it as it saw in our victory over Mexico. 
Let the North not covet a distinction which she can 
never possess, thanks to the superior glories of Lib- 
erty ! To the proposition from South Carolina, that 
her sons should meet more than their number of Mas- 
sachusetts men, and decide the issue in this country by 
this duel of States, a shrewd resident of the Old Bay 
proposed, as an amendment, that these should meet, but 
that, instead of using weapons of death, vast blank-books 


should be opened, and if a third more Massachusetts 
men could not write their own names than South Car- 
olina men, the South should be declared victorious. 
That was rather cruel toward the Southerners, beneath 
whose rule, entirely great, the bowie-knife is mightier 
than the pen ; but it was from a man who had wit 
enough to know that Liberty's Code of Honor is a dif- 
ferent one from that of Slavery. To that or any le- 
gitimate weapon we may confidently trust American 
Freedom ; but not one hour to the shifting chances of 
war, if we can help it, — not to the accident of a 
general's being drunk or sober, or the position of a 
ditch or fence. If these flimsy defences are the sur- 
est with which we can surround the world's trust to 
America, be sure the precious lamp )vill be removed 
to those who can keep it alive, though we be left in 
outer darkness. 



The experience of the Slave States has furnished 
reason to believe that no general and concerted insur- 
rection of slaves can occur for many years. 

In estimating this question, several things are to be 


remembered: — 1. That the negroes cannot generally 
write, or use the mails or the facilities of travel. They 
are undoubtedly anxious enough for their freedom to 
strike any blow that might have a reasonable prospect of 
success ; but they can see as readily as we that concert 
would be necessary, and that to any great extent is im- 
possible. It will be remembered that the insurrection 
of Nat Turner and that planned by Denmark Yesey 
covered very small sections of the States in which they 
occurred, though they were the most extensive and 
elaborately prepared of all that have occurred. 2. The 
negroes are an extremely cautious people, and not at 
all self-reliant. Much of this is the result of their 
training. A negro may be browbeaten even into the 
confession of things he has not done ; and at a word of 
suspicion about any real offence, he at once supposes 
the master knows everything, and makes a clean breast 
of it. It is probably through these means, rather than 
deliberate treachery upon the part of any of them, 
that schemes of this kind have been so often betrayed by 
negroes themselves. 3. The negroes are superstitious, 
and in the direction of special providences. They 
believe generally in luck and miracle, and the fatalism 
of the Baptist Church, to which they usually belong, 
helps to cut the sinews of their own right arms. 
"Who would be free, themselves must strike the blow," 
would be an incomprehensible sentiment among them, 
and, in my opinion, it will never be true in their case. 
When their blow comes, it will be at the end of a long 


series of others' blows. They are always looking for 
their Moses, whom they would not follow unless he 
had his wonder-working rod along. 4. But the chief 
fetter worn by this race is the habit of servile obedi- 
ence : the master's ordinary tone and cowhide are more 
irresistible than his musket and epaulets. 

Undoubtedly there will be in the future, as there 
have been in the past, here and there local insurrec- 
tions ; but none that could excite a general panic in 
the South will this generation be apt to witness. 

On reflection, it will be seen that all of the forces 
above enumerated as those which will be likely to pre- 
vent any general slave insurrection are at the present 
time doubly active. In the present juncture, the slave 
has every inducement to remain quiet, none at all to 
rebel : neither side is ready to befriend him as an 
insurrectionist, both are helping him as a slave. He 
is, of the three parties in this contest, as he should 
be, infinitely the best off. At any rate, he is very 
sure not to rebel when every Southern eye is on the 
watch, and every hand on the trigger. 

So those who are hoping to have their shoulders 
relieved of the burden of doing justice to these slaves 
will find that they will act as Paul and Silas when their 
prison was opened by an earthquake, who said to the 
frightened Macedonians, " Let the magistrates come 
and fetch us out." He certainly will not stir to be- 
friend or welcome those who have not decided whether 
or not to exile him in case he becomes free ; who have 


not yet declared even those deserted by rebel masters 
to be free ; and who really show more aversion to 
personal proximity to him than his Southern master. 

But every one of the inward links which bind him 
now — his caution, superstition, and servile obedience 
— would be transferred to our banner on the instant 
that he should be declared free under it, and would 
curl about it like tendrils. Not insurrections, but 
stampedes, would at once follow our proclamation of 
freedom ; and they would have to be, and would be, 
checked immediately. But to check them knocks into 
pi every column of the Southern army. 

The slave's heart everywhere is at this moment filled 
with the one burning idea of freedom ; he is doing 
now exactly what his friends advise him to do, — sit- 
ting still ; he has shown great wisdom during this 
war. But he listens every hour of the night and day 
for the watchword which calls him to his feet. 

That word is not Confiscation ; it is not Coloniza- 
tion. Hearing people discussing and advocating every 
measure for these people except simple justice, one 
thinks of Cassim, loaded with treasures in the rob- 
bers' cave, with the door fast locked in his face, call- 
ing for it to open by every name but the one to 
which it really does open. He says, " Barley," and 
" Oats," — but the door opens not a crack. Let our 
rulers take care that the Sesame which alone can 
open the door of success in this war is not first ut- 
tered, as in Cassim's case, by the robbers: the side 


that first cries Freedom to the Slave gains the day 
in this war. 

We hear some talk of arming the slaves : would it 
not be well first to try the effect of doing them simple, 
unelaborate justice ? 

For that word the slave's heart far down on the 
Southern plantations is now all ear. It is a common 
error to suppose that the slaves on the plantations of 
the far South are more ignorant, degraded, and obtuse, 
or that they are less informed in public matters, than 
those in the Border States. The contrary is truer. It 
has been for many generations the invariable custom 
to send to these plantations of the Cotton and Sugar 
States every negro near the border who at any time 
shows a desire for freedom, or who has attempted to 
run off, or has been overtaken, or who shows enough 
intelligence for an inference that he will be restive 
under the yoke. The number of overseers and strict- 
ness of patrol on these plantations make it compara- 
tively unimportant whether the slave is discontented 
or otherwise. The consequence is, that there has been 
through many years a gradual accumulation in the 
far South of the most inflammable and intelligent 
negroes ; and any serious insurrections would be far 
more apt to come from them than from their more 
comfortable Border-State comrades. 

But they listen on the Border also for that word to 
whose Orphic music the hearts of men are made to 
dance, though they were as stones and trees. The 


Border-State negro has had his senses whetted by a 
certain kind of perpetual fear and ever-recurring 
anguish. For these are the slave-breeding States. Not 
one half of the slaves born in any of the Border 
States are or can be retained there; the demand for 
them is insufficient. This makes the yoke through 
all this region terribly galling. Year by year parents 
watch the growth of their children, knowing that they 
cannot be kept at home, —that there each will be only 
another mouth to feed and back to clothe, — knowing 
that so soon as the year of noblest promise and strength 
comes, it comes only to bring the bitter parting and 
heart-break. No farmer gathers in his harvest more 
regularly than the slave-trader of the Border States, 
putting in his scythe this year for the human hearts 
which were not quite ripe for plantation-service last 

Thus they listen, thus they watch, more than they 
that watch for the morning: God's captive Israel, of 
whom he says, They shall prosper who love thee! 





After what has been said, there is no need that we 
shall dwell upon the objection, sometimes offered to an 
edict of emancipation, that it would cover the South 
with a cruel servile insurrection. 

Even if it were tjue, the objection is absurdly 
oblivious of the cruel white insurrection which is now 
raging in the South, to say nothing of its ignoring 
the chronic and perpetual insurrection against the 
rights and happiness of a whole race, which Slavery 
essentially is. 

But the history of every nation which has dared 
the guilty experiment of holding man as property 
repeats the warning of Schiller, — " Tremble before 
the man who has not yet broken his chain: tremble 
not before the freeman." 

Though no insurrection of slaves can possibly come 
to do for us in this war what an edict of emancipation 
alone can do ; though for a generation, or generations, 
the slave may serve his Southern master ; yet, if that 
institution be allowed to survive this war, the South 
is delivered up as to the ever-narrowing circles of a 
whirlpool, which must bear it into its vortex, unless 
another war may once more give the nation the power 
to rescue that insane section. For these slaves must 


multiply until their enslavement becomes impossible. 
Any man, whose opinion is entitled to be listened to, 
knows that this institution is in the end a doomed 
institution. But we know, also, that slaveholding, like 
any other bad passion, grows with what it feeds on, 
and has thus been a more determined thing in the 
South with every successive year. If, then, in this 
Golden Hour, when we have the means already pre- 
pared and ready to prevent any evils which could 
occur, we do not, what is there in the future but a 
certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery in- 
dignation ? 

Are you quite sure, ye who are so fearful of servile 
insurrection, that, at any other period, if the South 
shall cry, Help, — as she surely will, — we shall have 
a million men ready on the instant to shield her from 
carnage ? 

The social system of the South has been undermined 
by the hand of God: when, in eternal wisdom and 
truth, he laid the foundations of the world, he loved the 
human being for which all was a mansion too well 
to permit any wrong to go on without retribution ; 
and under the foundations of all injustice he laid the 
trains which must in some way lay them in ruins. 
The fusee to that undermining is now in our hand : 
we may now fire it with fire from the altar of God, 
which can work no indiscriminate ruin ; but who 
shall tell the horrors if in the future that fusee shall 
be set on fire of hell ? 


Nothing is more sad than when the human mind 
puts darkness for light, and light for darkness ; and I 
know of no case where it is done more dangerously 
than in calling that measure inhuman and cruel which 
is the only one not utterly pitiless to the South. 

The present attitude of the North is oppressive to- 
ward the South. The North seems disposed simply 
to cripple and limit Slavery, and yet about as anxious 
as the South to prevent emancipation. In Other words, 
the North is opposed to freeing the slaves, but wishes so 
to limit the institution that it shall be a burden and 
a loss to those who hold it. For if the principles upon 
which the present President was elected should prevail, 
and the slaves not freed, the institution would utterly 
impoverish the South ; and the North would be en- 
riched by it. It is our duty either to liberate the 
slaves, or else to allow Slavery such protection and ad- 
mission into all territories as will keep it from being a 
danger and a drag upon the South. I fear the North 
is anxious to preserve Slavery for the cotton and sugar 
it brings ; but anxious also to have all the lands and 
political power, without which Slavery makes every 
white man as well as black man in the South a slave. 

You have no right to leave this tree on their lot 
girdled, so as to bear them no fruit, and be in their 
way, and an increasing danger also, rotting year by 
year for the blast under which it shall fall suddenly 
and inevitably. 

My fellow-men, there is every sign that our arms 


are steadily winning their way into the South. Let us 
consider gravely what it is we are carrying South as we 
march on. One thing we must carry, — devastation. 
We are far yet from the heart of the South, and they 
know little of the South who do not know that, as we 
approach nearer, the tragedy will deepen : our army 
will mark its track in blood, and find ashes where fair 
cities stood before. Now I do not say that all this 
ought not to take place if it is necessary ; there are 
things worse than such devastation ; but I do say that in 
this age of the world such devastation of human homes 
and hearts cannot be justified unless along with it we 
bear blessings greater than the devastation is evil. 

In my opinion, there is not a feature of Christianity 
which would not frown upon the idea that the sorrows 
which our victorious advance must bring upon the 
South can be justified by carrying a piece of bunting 
down there, or the mere governmental authority it rep- 
resents. If this should prove to be, what Earl Russell 
declared it, "a struggle for power" only, the verdict 
of the civilized world will be, — Shame! Take any one 
who perished at Port Donelson, loyal or rebel, and place 
that human being, with God's crown of intelligence 
upon his brow, beside that mass of stone and brush- 
wood which was surrendered, and any thinking person 
will know which is of more importance, the mass of 
brute matter which human hands could rear in a 
month,- or that immortal being of heart and brain, 
which, once prostrated, not the combined skill of the 
world can rebuild. 


The proverb says, "Faithful are the wounds of a 
friend " ; and if we were smiting the South to heal 
her of the withering curse that is upon her, our 
wounds will be far more friendly than all those weak 
compromises and indulgences by which the North has 
for years helped to fasten her curse upon her. An 
amnesty for the South leaving her Slavery would be 
the bitterest wrong and cruelty we could inflict on 

Humanity, Christianity, would welcome and justify 
any severity necessary to relieve the South of that 
curse, as they would the severity of the surgeon's 
probe, for the overbalancing benefit it brings. The 
friend of humanity could then patiently see more blood- 
shed than the land has yet witnessed, if he knew that 
this blood was shed for the remission of the nation's 
sin, the removal of its pitiless curse. 

And yet, what are we actually carrying South with 
our arms ? After the surrender of Fort Donelson, the 
first thing done was to run up the United States ban- 
ner ; the second thing was to return to rebel masters 
twelve slaves found therein. This was boasted of by 
a Kentucky Senator in the Senate, and the author of 
the deed went unrebuked. But we got through him at 
Shiloh as heavy a blow as those twelve negroes got. 
We shall find that all the orders "No. 3" will come 
home to roost. At Port Royal a negro, deserted by his 
master, came within our lines, and, addressing Colonel 
Lee, said, " Will you please, sir, tell me if I am a free- 


man ? " Colonel Lee was dumb. The government is 
dumb.* As yet you, my countrymen, are dumb. 

Whatever title the Southern States may have had 

* The following touching lyric was placed in my hand, soon after hear- 
ing of this incident, by one who has already given us that which is worthy 
to be incorporated with the "John Brown Song," as the "Battle Hymn 
of the Kepublic." 

Tell me, master, am I free ? 

From the prison-land I come, 
From a wrecked humanity, 

From the fable of a home, — 

From the market where my wife, 

With my baby at her breast, 
Faded from my narrow life, 

Kudely bartered and possest. 

Masters, ye are fighting long, 

Well your trumpet-blast we know : 
Are ye come to right a wrong ? 

Do we call you friend or foe ? 

Will ye keep me, for my faith, 
From the hound that scents my track % 

From the riotous, drunken breath, 
From the murder at my back 1 

God must come, for whom we pray, 

Knowing his deliverance true ; 
Shall our men be left to say, 

He must work it free of you ? 

Links of an unsighted chain 

Bound the spirit of our braves ; 
Waiting for the nobler strain, 

Silence told him we were slaves. 


to hold slaves, no man has yet been bold enough to 
claim that the United States has a title to hold them ; 
yet it is restraining of their freedom thousands of men 
as free as the President. The President has just im- 
ported a million slaves into the States of Georgia, Flor- 
ida, and South Carolina. A pretty big beam, I think, 
the Northern eye is carrying, as it goes to pull out 
the mote in the Southern eye ! Buchanan announced 
that the Constitution carries Slavery wherever it goes : 
it has remained for the first Republican government 
to make the theory fact. But is to do this worth the 
heart-breaks, the butchery, by which alone we can 
march South ? 



In the old Hebrew Chronicles it is related that, on 
one occasion, David was in an hold, and the garrison 
of the Philistines was in Bethlehem. " And David 
longed, and said, that one would give me drink 
of the water of the well of Bethlehem which is by the 
gate ! And the three mighty men brake through the 
host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well 
of Bethlehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and 


brought it to David ; nevertheless he would not drink 
thereof, but poured it out unto the Lord. And he said, 
Be it far from me, Lord, that I should do this ; is not 
this the blood of the men that went in jeopardy of 
their lives ? Therefore he would not drink it." 

Thus to all noble minds heroism is forever conse- 
crated, and consecrates all it touches. The commonest 
things have a new and higher value, when they become 
associated with deeds of devotion and courage. The 
cross, to which the Christian world clings, was not a 
whit more respectable than a gallows, until a Hero's 
blood consecrated it. 

Our countrymen, our companions, friends, and rela- 
tives, have gone forth, in jeopardy of their lives, to 
recover for this nation certain forts, arsenals, territo- 
ries, — for which the nation longed. This nation does 
not yet see that when these forts%nd States are recov- 
ered for us, stained with the ruddy blood of thousands 
of its noble youth, — each the monument of fallen he- 
roes, — they will seem very different from forts and arse- 
nals ; that, if thus recovered, they will be altars con- 
secrated to the humanity which died to rescue them, 
flaming with the fires of Justice and Liberty. 

The first American Revolution began as a protest 
against a tax upon tea and a few other articles. Even 
after Concord and Lexington the removal of a few 
pence from the duty on tea would have stopped the 
war. At this distance that looks to us as a very insig- 
nificant fight : one might almost call it a tempest in a 


But so did it not remain. The tea reddened with 
the blood of noble hearts, as did the water of Beth™ 
lehem when it came to the king. Battle after battle 
came; men went on to death as to their beds; and 
from the fires of war emerged the grand figure of 
Independence. Then all the duties might have been 
taken off, but America would not have drank to the 
health of a tyrant what had now become the blood of 
her noble sons ; nothing less than entire independence 
was worthy so costly a libation. 

In the month of August, 1776,* immediately after 
the defeat of the Americans on Long Island, and 
whilst that disaster was not only demoralizing the army 
under Washington, but spreading dismay and conster- 
nation among the most resolute of the advocates of 
Independence, General Howe, wishing to take advan- 
tage of the terror which victory inspires, and per- 
suading himself that the Americans, disheartened by 
so many checks, would be more modest in their pre- 
tensions, despatched General Sullivan to Congress, with 
a message purporting that, though he could not con- 
sistently treat with that assembly in the character they 
had assumed, yet he would gladly confer with some 
of their members in their private capacity, and would 

* This incident was briefly alluded to in " The Eejected Stone " ; the 
number of inquiries which have been made of me concerning it, and its 
appropriateness to the argument of this chapter, encourage me to con- 
dense the account from Carlo Botta's History, in which alone I have been 
able to find it, though it is certainly one of the most striking of our Rev- 
olutionary records. 


meet them at any place they would appoint. He 
informed them that he was empowered, with the Ad- 
miral, his brother, to terminate the contest between 
Great Britain and America upon conditions equally 
advantageous to both. He assured them that, if they 
were inclined to enter into an agreement, much might 
be granted them which they had not required. He con- 
cluded by saying, that, should the conference produce 
the probability of an accommodation, the authority of 
Congress would be acknowledged, in order to render 
the treaty valid and complete in every respect. To this 
Congress made answer, through General Sullivan, that 
the Congress of the Free and Independent States of 
America could not, consistently with the trust reposed 
in them, send their members to confer with any one 
whomsoever, otherwise than in their public capacity. 
But that, as they desired that peace* might be con- 
cluded upon equitable conditions, they would depute 
a committee of their body to learn what proposals 
they had to offer. The Deputies appointed by Con- 
gress to hear the propositions of the British Commis- 
sioners (General Howe and Admiral Lord Howe) were 
Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Edward Rut- 
ledge, all three zealous advocates of Independence. 
The interview took place on September 11th, on Sta- 
ten Island, opposite Amboy, where the British general 
had his head-quarters. 

The result of the interview showed to what a height 
the war, which began about a paltry tax, had risen un- 


der the tuition of Heroism. The British commanders 
offered every concession, with complete amnesties and 
indemnities, provided only that they would lay down 
their arms and submit to the authority of England. 
But the Americans, staggering though they were un- 
der a disastrous defeat, — dark, too, as was the pros- 
pect of three millions fighting against the strongest 
power on earth, — utterly and firmly refused to submit 
to anything less than their entire independence; 

This was England's last effort to settle the difficulty 
by negotiation. Immediately thereafter she put forth 
her whole strength to compel submission : but had 
England only known it, she was conquered already, 
when in the midst of darkness and disaster there 
remained to confront her a spirit too noble to com- 
promise Liberty, too royal to cool even the fevered 
lips of war with an ignoble peace, and offer to Des- 
potism the blood of heroes. 

Our public speakers know very well that, in speaking 
of " the Union cemented by the blood of our fathers," 
they touch a chord in the popular heart which never 
fails to respond. That is because it is a true chord. 
Every river and valley of it has been touched with 
the chrism of self-sacrifice. 

But here is more blood poured out : what will that 
cement ? Is it only to cement the broken walls of 
Sumter? Is it only to recover a section for freemen 
to be tarred and feathered in, — a Congress for honest 
Senators to be assassinated in ? Is that what your son 


lias gone to cement with his blood ? Are we giving up 
the best blood in our land that our flag may again 
unfurl its heaven-born colors for the protection of the 
chain and the lash and the block where immortal 
beings are sold as cattle? 

There is where we started: the old Union just as 
it was, with every chain in it, every shamble, every 
scourge, every barbarism, — that is what our own 
valiant men brake the ranks of the Philistines to get 
for us. But already things give signs of change. 
People are saying, This war will be sure to end 
Slavery, — the wish being father to the thought. 
That is only the first flush on the water. Let us see 
a little more heroic blood shed, and people will say, 
This war shall end Slavery. 

A man who announces — and this is said with all 
deference to the Secretary of State — that a bloody 
revolution shall sweep over a country, and leave that 
country, and every human being in it, in the same 
condition as before, must be in the counsel of that 
highly conservative angel at the Creation who was 
seized with a dreadful apprehension lest the very 
foundations of Chaos should be unsettled. 

To expect that this revolution, whilst working 
changes similar to those which revolution has wrought 
in all history, will leave Slavery as it was before in 
the land, is to expect a conflagration enveloping a 
house to burn up the stone and iron, and leave the 
wood-work standing. 




Who can misread or doubt the prophecies written 
broadly over all the mountains, prairies, savannahs, 
lakes, and rivers of this superb continent ? What heart 
can have a misgiving that these grandeurs have been 
prepared for a race of slaves ? Does Niagara thunder 
of the great era of slave-coffles ? Does the Mississippi 
suggest a race of clay-eaters on its shores ? Do the great 
rivets between North and South, the Rocky, the Alle- 
ghany, the Blue Eidge mountains, foretell that the rivets 
of moral and political union on this continent are to 
be perpetual fear on one side and menace on the other, 
as they have been for years, — ■ a' union crumbling 
through very rottenness ? 

Every hill-top in America is a Pisgah, from which 
can be seen the Promised Land of Liberty, which this 
nation is sure sooner or later to enter. 

But meanwhile there are dreary forty-year wander- 
ings in desert places, which may have to come ere 
we are worthy to enter our Canaan of Freedom and 
Prosperity. Worse than all, there is a possible Baby- 
lonish captivity toward which it were well for this gen- 
eration anxiously to look. The fearful retribution 
which befell Israel for its idolatry is never absent from 
the paths of such nations as turn aside from their 


own God to worship alien idols. Slavery is for this 
nation the alien idol, and its worship may yet have 
to be burnt out of us by a similar fiery trial. 

There is a current phrase which says, " This war is 
bound to be the death of Slavery." It seems to me a 
very thoughtless speech. How do we expect emanci- 
pation to come ? Is it to be as a shower of gold ? 
The proverb says, " What will you have, quoth God ; 
pay for it and take it." We shall have freedom from 
our national curse, not by any luck, but when we 
are up to paying the fair price ; if there is enough 
humanity and common sense in the country to destroy 
Slavery, it will be destroyed, and' not otherwise. No 
doubt Slavery will end, but this government may 
never live to see the day. t 

We actually hear people saying, " When this war 
is ended, we can have a convention, and agree upon 
some plan for the gradual abolition of Slavery." 

When this war is ended ! This is much as when 
Paddy, after vainly endeavoring to put on a pair of 
new boots, remarked that he feared he would never be 
able to get those boots on until he had worn them a 
day or two. 

Perhaps the highest secret which the Oriental phi- 
losophy hit upon was the peristaltic movement of the 
universe. The idea was that the visible universe was 
the integument of a great living soul, and that, in its 
onward progress, the vital form from time to time shed, 


as a snake its skin, this integument, whose spots were 

As long as the skin is alive and adjusted to its move- 
ment, the snake bears it onward ; but when a newer one 
has been formed underneath, the snake pauses, con- 
tracts, and the old skin shrivels; one full-length stretch, 
and it is left in the path. 

Onward by the perfect law the living essence of 
Society moves also: the customs, creeds, institutions, 
of any age are the spots of its variegated skin. Bright 
and beautiful are these scales when vital and necessary. 
Presently they get rusty, and must be shed. Then all 
the living forces contract, and the old is cast. Nothing 
not dead can ever be sloughed off. Eevolutions such as 
Christianity, Protestantism, that which secured Ameri- 
can Independence, that which is now abolishing Slav- 
ery, are the successive shrivellings of the rusty cuticle, 
as the living body of Society moves onward. 

The former status of this country can never be 
restored, more than a snake can creep back into and 
inhabit the skin it has shed on the way-side. But, 
reader, have you not in your life found some poor 
snake still partially fettered to its "body of death," 
— snake in motionless distress, which, having stretched 
out from its shrivelled skin, must needs stretch back 
and wait ? The last state of that snake is worse than 
the first for a time. 

In this revolution we may get free. But if we do 
not, before any truce comes, cast the old Slavery-skin 


of this nation, we shall go back for a while into a state 
of things which even the Democrats would shudder 
to behold. If, now that Slavery and Freedom are, by 
the new power opened, for the first time left to the 
oJioice of the American people, they shall deliberately 
select Slavery, Slavery they will get with a vengeance ! 
For tilings would have to be worse to be better. We 
should witness a rule of Slavery so galling and fear- 
ful, that the North would be scourged into a revolution. 

There is no St. Patrick who can rid this land of 
old-line Democrats. Now and then there is a cry that 
the Democratic party is dead ; and if it were not in 
league with the Devil, if bullets could kill it, it would 
have been dead long ago. In a play called " The 
Vampyre," the voracious sucker in human shape, who 
draws the life out of fair virgins whilst they sleep, is 
repeatedly slain ; but in dying he always makes a 
pathetic request tof have his corpse put at some certain 
place, — a place where the moonlight will, he knows, 
fall upon it. Whenever the moonlight touches this 
Vampyre in human shape, he revives. Now, this moon- 
shine — which is a compromise between night and day 
— is a fair symbol of that which never fails to resus- 
citate Democracy. No matter how dead you may fancy 
it, you have only to heed its last dying request for a 
compromise, and under that moonshine its resuscita- 
tion is inevitable. 

The very delay in dealing with Slavery has furnished 
sufficient moonshine, not to say lunacy, to stir the 


Vampyre with a throb of life. That party is preparing 
to go before the people in the forthcoming campaign. 
They will take the Van Wyck Report in one hand, and 
the Washburne Report in the other, (for they know how 
to make the truth lie like the Devil ! ) and they will 
say, from every stump in the country : " Feller-citi- 
zens ! What did you git by leaving the old Dimocratic 
party? Fust, you got a civil war, plunging into fra- 
ternal fratricide the country that under Frank Pierce 
and Jim Buckhannon was peaceful, united, gellorious, 
and happy. Second, you got untold millions of debt. 
Third, you got corruption enough in all the branches of 
the government to fill these here 2,000 pages of inves- 
tigating reports. That 's what you got by this Republi- 
can freak of yours ! Feller-citizens, do you want to see 
the bloody clouds of civil war roll away before the 
rising sun of harmony and union, one and inseparable 
now and forever ? Jest vote for the regular nominees 
of the Dimocratic party ! Now, boys, three cheers 
for McClellan ! " 

I fear the appeal will be successful ; and if so, the 
little finger of the man so elected will be heavier than 
Buchanan's loins. 

The other day I was reading in the Satanic Press 
the programme of the Democracy, of which the above 
is a free translation, and its editorial concluded with 
saying, — " To this appeal the masses will be sure to 
respond." By a typographical error, or the correc- 
tion of some shrewd printer, the m got off of masses, 


and on to the preceding word ; and so it read " them 
asses will be sure to respond." It was very bad gram- 
mar, but I think I never read so sensible a sentence in 
that paper before. It is not the masses, but them asses, 
that we have to fear. 

Let us not trust the sham Democracy of this country 
because it now professes to support the war. The other 
evening, when, at a Democratic meeting in Cincin- 
nati, the corpse of the Yampyre was stirred, the assem- 
bly gave vent to the natural disgust by simultaneously 
ejaculating, Pugh ! 

Much to our surprise, an individual whose name is so 
pronounced, supposing himself called upon, made a 
speech. The Hon. George E. Pugh is the ablest Demo- 
crat in the West, and would so stand with his party 
if he were not a trifle too rash. When traitors in the 
West propose to aid the rebellion, they first inquire if 
Lawyer Pugh is in good health ; and in so many cases 
of this kind has he appeared, that it is not strange if 
he should be in party limbo. But since Garrett Davis 
menaced the government with resistance from Ken- 
tucky, the sham Democracy of the West has come far 
enough out to lay hold upon Pugh. 

At the assembly of Resurrectionists to which I have 
referred, this ex-Senator said these words : — 

" The Democracy has voted men and money to sup- 
port this government during the war ; and the reason 
why they have done so is, that they have intended to 
have that government in their own hands at the next 


administration. In my opinion the government will 
soon be in the hands of the Democracy, and then, and 
not till then, will the old flag, with its thirty-four stars, 
represent a perfect Union." 

That is, the Democracy, though not regarding the 
government, tinder a constitutionally-elected Republi- 
can administration, as a bona fide affair, will yet support 
it so long as there lingers with them a hope of binding 
the Union as a dead Hector to the chariot of Slavery. 

" You aristocrats," says a Jacobin in Paris, " are 
frightened, as you say, lest we should injure your 
property: we shall guard your property with the ut- 
most care, in the full expectation that it is soon to 
be our own." 

But the proprietors knew that behind each of these 
words was a sword and a torch, and that, when it 
became certain that the Jacobin could not get the 
property, his sword and torch would appear. 

The people are to be reverenced, but cautiously. 
When you can get a real people, their voice is the voice 
of God ; nay, when they are animated with a great, 
all-compelling purpose, they are the myriad-fingered 
hand of God, fashioning the Earth according to the 
pattern shown in the mount. 

But from this height there is a precipitous descent. 
The people may be demoralized ; then they are not a 
people, but merely the rabble. Fearfully easy and swift 
is this recoil sometimes. To-day they sing Hosanna, 


and spread their garments in the path before the 
advance of the Highest ; to-morrow the same voices 
sharply cry, Crucify him ! 

This Vampyre whom they would elect would fasten 
upon this nation, and suck every free and noble drop 
out of its heart. The sacred guaranties of Liberty and 
forms of law would be suspended then, not for the de- 
fence of Freedom, but to crush out the soul of Free- 
dom. Slavery would be the tyrant, and dungeons 
would be Med with those who uttered a word or did 
aught against Slavery. Those weapons of martial 
law, far more fearful than any artillery, may each be 
wheeled around against the champions of Freedom ; 
and there are men not very far from a possible Pres- 
idency who would use them all to strangle free 
thought and free speech in this country. 

The Babylon whose captivity we have to fear is not 
Disunion ; if that were the alternative, it would not be 
so fearful. But there are too many indications that 
the people of the North so worship the Union, and 
regard their trade as so involved in it, that, if they can- 
not win it by fair means, they will by foul. There is 
no doubt but they will fight and suffer long and gal- 
lantly to recover the Union ; but when it is decided 
that they cannot have it with honor, it is to be feared 
that they can be demoralized enough to pay the price 
of their honor, to compromise for it. 

But this would only be a thorny, crooked way to the 
same goal, the straight way to which God opens before 


us to-day. It would not be long before the very men 
who now think that they would be willing to have the 
Union with Slavery in it back again, would shriek out 
Anathema Maranatha upon every man who had a hand 
in such a result. 



In the Palais-Royal Gardens at Paris there is a dial, 
with a small cannon attached. When the sun rises to 
the meridian height, the cannon is fired, a sun-glass 
having been so arranged as to concentrate the rays for 
that purpose. 

Not far from this is another dial, arranged on the 
same principle with the celebrated one made by Lin- 
naeus at Upsal : flowers there are which close, and 
others which unfold, at various periods of the day, and 
thus the hours are marked. 

Thus the same sun which in one spot announces its 
ascent to the zenith by the cannon's roar, in another 
noiselessly traces its progress and culmination by the 
closing up of old and the unfolding of new growths. 

Ideas, sun-like, have also their dawn, their ascent, 
and their culmination. One world lies about us where 


ideas proclaim their advance through the grim mouth 
of the cannon. Powers, parties, interests, have so set 
their glasses, that fiery Liberty, vivifying Equality, radi- 
ant Fraternity, rising, dawn over dawn, upon the world, 
are responded to by the roar of battle. But softly 
about us lies another world, in which advancing Truth 
traces its steps of light in the closing up of old errors 
and the unfolding of new truths. 

From the noisy thunders of the cannon-dial, — from 
the din of the voices which cry, Lo here ! Lo there ! — 
let us turn for a while, and trace so far as we can 
the hour as it stands in that kingdom which cometh 
not with outward show. 

The leaders and masses enlisted in the Southern 
rebellion have no more to do with that rebellion than 
the fantoccini of a puppet-show have to do with their 
own attitudes and dances. 

The present attitude of Slavery is the direct and 
inevitable result of the attitude of Liberty. The Sa- 
tanic press throughout the country implores that the 
antislavery agitators shall be sent to Fort Warren ; 
Parson Brownlow wishes to bury them in a ditch ; the 
allegation being, that they have caused the rebellion, and 
are making a union after the old pattern impossible. 
Now, this is about as far as the Devil ever sees. He is 
shrewd enough up to a certain limit ; after that he is as 
blind as a bat. It is as certainly true that antislavery 
agitation caused this rebellion, as that Slavery caused 


that agitation. It were easy to name one hundred 
brains which have been set a-thinking in this country 
during this generation, and to say with truth, if God 
had only seen fit to keep these hundred brains out of 
the world, or to have consulted Kentucky as to how he 
should fashion them, there would have been no war 
now. We should have gone on enjoying our country, 
our cotton, sugar, and the rest, as happy a nation of 
maggots as ever swarmed in an old cheese. 

In the eyes of those who have a doubt whether that 
kind of life constitutes the whole duty and chief end 
of man, the Abolitionists can desire no fairer laurel 
for their brows than that through them streamed such 
fiery rays of Liberty, that Slavery had no choice but to 
close up like a deadly flower before unfolding Justice, 
or else respond to these noonday fires with the cannon. 
The " Rebellion Record " reports that the first gun of 
this war was fired last year at Charleston : the Muse of 
History will write that the first gun was fired by Wil- 
liam Lloyd Garrison in Baltimore, many years ago ; 
the shell he touched off was a long time on its way, 
and only lately exploded in the election of President 
Lincoln, who was sent to Washington as an idea, and 
who has been, and will be, treated by the South as 
an idea. That election was an act of war upon Slavery, 
— all the more formidable because constitutional. 

It is only in crystals that one sees plainly any min- 
gled substance which is inferior. You cannot see a 
speck of dirt in the heart of a pebble, but you can see 



it clearly in the heart of a pure crystal. It is so with 
the evil at the heart of this country. The wrongs 
which for ages lay unobserved in the stony heart of 
absolutism, preserved now in the centre of a republic, 
discolor all the rays shining through it. Our faith and 
courage in these times will be in proportion to our 
realization of the fact that our trouble, though it should 
end in failure, is a sign not of weakness so much as of 
strength. Were the age meaner, its claim would not be, 
as it is now, beyond the ordinary satisfaction of circum- 
stances. Had the evils which afflict us a tongue, it 
would say : " Surely you have grown very sophisticated 
and fastidious. Read your school histories over again, 
and see what age was exempt from injustice and vio- 
lence, war and Slavery. Are you not making in this 
generation a great deal of noise over evils that your 
ancestors sat very quietly under ? " Certainly we are. 
We stand upon our vantage as proudly as did the 
young Goethe, of whom it is related that, when six 
years old, he plagued his mother with questions as to 
whether the stars would perform for him all that, ac- 
cording to some fortune-teller, they had promised at his 
birth. "Why," said his mother, " must you have the 
assistance of the stars, when other people get on very 
well without ? " To this the terrible child replied : 
" But I am not to be satisfied with what does for other 
people." So the humblest man in Christendom to-day 
puts his foot upon such a government as Jesus and 
Paul rested quietly under ; so the poorest American 



is too high to be satisfied with what suits an Austrian. 
Centuries of rain and sunshine are not wasted on the 
vineyard of God, where nations of men climb to 
clusters. Therefore, although the country was never 
so disturbed before in its immediate interests, it was 
never higher than now. This sundering of a great Con- 
federacy, — this panic fallen upon all our material inter- 
ests, — this division of the large church bodies, — all 
testify gloriously how large a price a young nation is 
willing to pay for a principle. Never more fitly could 
it be called a chosen people of God than now, when it 
says, " Yes, we are ready to press out even into a forty- 
years wilderness, following the guiding pillar of Lib- 
erty, whether it turn to us its fiery or its clouded 

The cannon's roar to-day, then, proclaims Liberty 
radiant in the heavens. America is assailed only be- 
cause she has turned from Slavery, and pressed for- 
ward to touch the vesture's hem of Freedom. That 
was her only crime. Then let the prophets be stoned ; 
let those who proclaim that the axe must and shall 
be laid to the root of the tree be slain, and the head 
of Radicalism be brought on a charger to the Herodias 
of Democracy ! When the Yoice in the "Wilderness is 
hushed, the Voice in Jerusalem breaks out. 

Here, then, in our Dial of Growths, is the first hour 
traced, — the nightshade of a fatal and ignoble peace 
in the midst of crime closes. Far nobler this blood-red 
flower of war ! 


Again, I see fast closing beneath the glow that old 
atheism which has fancied that this world was not gov- 
erned by the laws of God. It was said by Mr. Glad- 
stone, that " the king of Sicily had reduced atheism 
to a system of government." That king might cer- 
tainly, at any time in the last twenty years, have sued 
the United States government for an infraction of his 

And the government was so because the people were 
so. Would a people ever dream of disregarding habit- 
ually laws in which they had faith as involving interests 
of life and death? Would they eat poisons, launch 
ships without compasses, leap over precipices ? That 
is just what we have been doing in the real world, — 
the world where gravitation takes the form of justice. 
And now comes the severe experience which shows 
us that the Golden Rule is not only a moral but a 
physical law ; that these invisible laws which are called 
moral are not abstractions, the violations of which are 
to end in a grand scenic display of Zamiel with red 
lights in the future world, but laws which encircle 
the world above and below, and govern it infallibly in 
every instant ; and that no wrong is without its pen- 
alty on the moment. Our nation's crime is to-day its 
own retribution ; the stain on our flag has become a 
plague-spot on the body. And upon those in our land 
who most abetted the wrong the retribution is heaviest. 

There were sundry atheistic institutions in our land, 
calling themselves Tract and Missionary Societies : these, 


simply' for lucre and worldly strength, refused to listen 
to the cries or sobs of four millions of their brethren, — 
consented that they should be sold into Egypt. Now 
come the great hails which sweep away the refuges of 
lies ; and these very societies and churches which most 
failed to rescue those torn and bleeding sheep of Christ's 
fold, are the most sundered and ruined. They laid up 
their treasures where Confederates break through and 
steal. The most flourishing societies and churches now 
are those which rebuked slavery too sternly to have 
any possessions in the South to be lost. 

Trade has also learned its lesson. We had, in the 
times of Henry Clay, memorials circulated through 
the North, praying Congress to have the discussion of 
Slavery in its halls suppressed. They were signed 
principally by merchants with large Southern trade. 
In some cities, however, there were found merchants 
who would not sign away their independence for South- 
ern custom. These the pro-slavery papers were swift 
in parading as the enemies of the South, and they 
suffered by the withdrawal of Southern custom. The 
South dealt more largely than ever with its " friends." 
The others had to reorganize their trade : forced to 
plant their business entirely in the North, those firms 
are to-day secure ; they have no dreary account of 
irrecoverable thousands with Southern dealers. Of all 
such customers they were long ago relieved by their 
compliant neighbors, now groaning under the seques- 
tration of their property in the South. 


And we may rest assured that all who have woven 
into their lives and interests rotten and blood-rusted 
threads, will now see the tissue torn to tatters under 
the blasts which attend this judgment-day. 

Atheism, then, — the disbelief in the reality of Divine 
laws, — can never again rule in church and trade : 
they will believe, though for a while it will be only to 
" believe and tremble." 

Let us hope also that the day has advanced enough 
to close up that old poisonous blossom Compromise, 
and that the new hour is opening Truth. Ah, how 
have we needed the snow-white petals of this flower, 
in place of that compliant trailing weed ! 

A lion on a plain was taunted by a serpent, which 
was on a high, steep rock, with his inability to climb 
to an equal height. The lion answered, " I might like 
you have risen, if like you I had crawled." What 
was all this prosperity, this wealth, this spread-eagle 
nationality ; the first untainted breath sent through the 
Capitol showed that it was all a crawling prosperity. 
And so, thank God, the heel of our manhood is near 
the head of that serpent whose trail was through 
church and 'change and court and government. 

In establishing the government, our fathers compro- 
mised ; to-day we reap the harvest of that seed ; and 
to-day the people are reading the law, that those who 
begin with the compromise of principle have given 
themselves to the toils of a glittering, bright-eyed, 
golden-scaled serpent, which must inevitably crush 


them at last. See before you, Americans, the con- 
sequences of a compromise proposed and accepted ! 

Now let us turn into the past, and consider an in- 
stance of another kind ; an instance of a compromise 
proposed and rejected, and the consequences of the 
same. Here is the compromise proposed: — 

" The Devil taketh him into an exceeding high 
mountain, and showeth him all the kingdoms of the 
world and the glory of them ; and saith unto him. 
All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall 
down and worship me." 

And here is the compromise rejected: — 
"Then said Jesus, Get thee behind me, Satan." 
And, finally, here are the consequences : — 
" Then the Devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels 
came and ministered unto him." 

May we not even call this the Messiah of nations, 
as it stands out in the wilderness, hungry as ever for 
wealth and plenty, but obeying the spirit which leads 
it to the trial of its faith in justice and liberty ? 

This is no metaphor ; it is a momentous reality ♦ 
America is to-day in the wilderness of temptation, and 
beside her is the Tempter. 

Up into the mountain the Tempter leads, — the 
exceeding high mountain of our national greatness 
and pride. From that apex, ready to crumble under 
our feet, how keenly the kingdoms of this world and 
their glories strike the senses ! On one side, the king- 
dom of political unity ; on another, the kingdom of 


cotton ; near by, the realms of trade ; and there, the 
kingdom of ecclesiastical power. The Tempter never 
slumbers so long as God is awake. " What is it," he 
whispers, " that divides your nation ? what is it that 
prevents cotton from crystallizing to diamonds for 
your treasury? what is it that hangs the auction-flag 
from the windows of trade ? what is it that sunders 
every church? It is your hatred of African Slavery. 
It is your love of freedom. Only give over these, — 
only consent to the fetter on the limbs of the black 
man, — and see, all these kingdoms are yours, with all 
their glories ! See, the nation is one again ; the coffer 
is full. The Church's wounds are healed so soon as 
Northern and Southern Christians consent to kneel 
around a common altar, there to eat the broken body 
and drink the shed blood of the African race. All 
these shall be yours, says the Tempter, if only ye will 
turn from the shrine of Liberty, and worship Slavery ; 
and you may call your idol patriotism, union, con- 
cession, compromise, fraternal feeling, peace, or any 
other fine name you please." 

Never before was the Compromise-devil foiled in 
this country. Let that be forever named " an exceed- 
ing high mountain," where the people confront the 
Tempter without kneeling, where not one man dear 
to the people is heard saying, This be thy god, 
America ! 

But, side by side, there are yet growing two blood- 


stained growths, with petals full blown ; they are Slav- 
ery and War: near them two fair white buds, whose 
names are Liberty and Peace. Comrades, faint not, 
but watch and labor and wait, that those flame-leaved, 
sickening blossoms may close, as they must, together ; 
and in that moment unfolding, these snowy, healing 
ones shall record that it is Freedom's noontide. 



There is an Oriental legend which relates that a 
poor man sat a thousand years before the gates of Par- 
adise ; then, in his weariness, he snatched one hour's 
sleep. But in that hour the gates of pearl swung open, 
and the poor man awoke just in time to see them close. 

Long has this country been sitting in dust and rags 
before the barred gates of Liberation from the curse 
which is upon her. In our midst reigned the infernal 
institution which seemed to preserve the deadliest blood- 
drops of all the tyrants the world ever saw. It crushed 
all heart and hope out of the black man ; it laid waste 
his home, and made the earth for him a great devil's 
masterpiece ; but it could not so wrong him as it has 
wronged the white man. From the white man it took 


the very marrow of honor. It has made it a life-long 
battle to be a gentleman in this country, Slavery in- 
sisting that one shall be a coward and a Negro-hound. 
God ! to see our President's own State wallowing 
in the very sewers of Slavery with its black laws, 
until one longs for some Toussaint to scourge Illinois 
of black hearts, and fill it with black faces ! To see 
Ohio, ruled by the vermin who tremble to take a 
Confederate officer's slave or sword in her own cap- 
ital, stoning any man of common sense and common 
honesty who would have her go a step beyond pork 
and whiskey ! To see this institution, after treading 
under its feet the millions of black bodies and the 
souls of whites in the South, marching on through the 
North, its brass collar on the necks of five Represent- 
atives of Massachusetts, — a Republican Cabinet afraid 
to look it in the eye ! Alas ! it is not four, but nearer, 
twenty-four, millions of slaves we have in America. 

But now has the Golden Hour come, and with a 
song from every angel, a shriek from every demon, 
the pearly portals of Liberation are prized open by 
Slavery's own madness, and America is invited to 
enter the blessed land. 

Last year Republicans had to be technical and skilful 
in proving even a probability that at the bottom of the 
ballot-box a gateway of release would ever be found ; 
to-day it requires all the ingenuity of the Cabinet engi- 
neers not to free us Their great problem now is, how 
not to do it. 


How long have the opponents of this nation's crime 
been met with the complaint that 'they were trying to 
hurry God? "Cannot you let Providence do its own 
work ? " " Providence will do away with the evil in 
its own good time." 

To all of which, not without a suspicion of its hypoc- 
risy, the antislavery man could only reply, with Luther, 
" God is a good worker, but loves to be helped." 

But now, if ever " providential hour " and " God's 
own good time " meant anything, they are here. The 
hour has arrived when Slavery comes outside of con- 
stitutional and legal intrenchments, and makes its death 
the alternative of the death of the nation. The hour 
has come when the lives of our best and bravest, and 
the bread of the poor, are dependent on its overthrow. 
The hour has come when for the first time we have an 
army gathered sufficient in numbers and appointments 
to secure us infallibly against those fancied dangers 
which have been held up to affright the timid, as fol- 
lowing in the train of emancipation. 

But where are all our Providentialists ? Where are 
those who bade us await God's own good time ? ye 
resigned ones, who so piously suppressed your enthu- 
siasm for freedom lest you should upset God's plans, 
do not all speak at once ! 

How does God's " own good time " passing over 
our heads find us? Behold, the Bridegroom cometh. 
At the altar of Justice, Liberty would wed America. 
Where are the lamps, filled, trimmed, and ready ? 


Foolish virgins, whilst ye go to buy, the door shall be 
shut ! What avails all our toiling, suffering, pleading, 
— what avails the reddened soil of Kansas, what the 
blood of the martyrs, — if now the golden portal of 
opportunity to which these have brought us shall be 
shut in our faces ? 

An old journal had this singular advertisement in 
the column of " Losses " : — 

" Lost. — Yesterday, somewhere between sunrise and 
sunset, a Golden Hour, set with sixty diamond minutes" 

No reward was offered, doubtless because the loser 
knew that the priceless jewel was gone forever. 

Golden is every hour ; but there are periods when 
moments are hours, and hours years, and years ages. 
Who can appraise the hours which arrive, one by 
one, Sibyl-like, each proffering the sacred volumes in 
which the victorious destiny of a Free Republic is 
written ? Who can hear the full mournfulness of 
the word " Lost," but they who know that, as each 
hour departs, it goes to burn another of those vol- 
umes ? Meanwhile, the steadfast oracle proclaims 
that, when the last hour which gives us the opportu- 
nity of emancipation passes, the doom of this Union 
is sealed. 

Not one hour passes over this nation, but in it — 
in that one hour — the nightmare of ages might be 
hurled from its breast. This hour a decree that 
henceforth the United States ignores utterly the rela- 


tion of master and slave paralyzes, as by the voice 
of a god, every arm uplifted against the country, 
and, which is far better, saves it from its own blind- 
ness here on the precipice's verge. The Sibyl, Oppor- 
tunity, has not yet left the slave forever ; his eyes 
strain toward the hope which has not yet set ; anon 
he has sent up his signals of flame to see if the 
army of the North is his friend or enemy. But the 
slave knows, and we know, that his status in this 
struggle must soon be settled ; nay, in some points 
it is already settled, and he stands the armed foe 
of the United States. As soon as it is determined 
that this is not his Golden Hour, he chooses between 
two foes ; and why should he not choose the side 
of those who represent the evil he knows, over those 
representative of the evils he knows not of? Why 
should he fly to those who esteem his rights beneath 
the rights of traitors, thieves, and assassins ? Why 
should he select those who can do him no harm 
where he is, in preference to those who may still 
hold power over his wife and child and parent ? 

The Golden Hour will not wait on us to the meas- 
ure of our own moral cowardice. " We should not 
be in haste to determine that radical measures are 
necessary," says the President. True, but we should 
be as much without rest as without haste, for no 
hour will bear to have its task put off upon another 
hour. The present hour offers us a peaceful victory 
through emancipation. The next may offer us only 


victory by that means. The third may offer us a 
costly victory, provided we can provide arms for the 
slaves. The fourth may make it as difficult to do 
this, as it is now to furnish arms to the loyal men 
of East Tennessee. The fifth may sweep away our 
advantages altogether, and our Golden Hour, crossed 
by a scythe, become a symbol on our nation's grave. 
Our President and legislators talk of this advan- 
tage — our only advantage, mark — of using liberty 
to save the country, as if Time was in their pay. 
Time is in the pay of those who take him by the 
forelock : he is all bald behind. 

When the commanding general at Washington an- 
nounced that every soldier found guilty of sleeping 
on duty should be shot, some of us were alarmed 
by an apprehension that he would have to begin at 
the head of the army, and shoot all, down to the 
drummer-boy. So far as the country knew, the whole 
army of the Potomac was fast asleep. 

There is in history no other instance of an army 
within sight of an enemy sleeping away seasons so 
fair. Why was that strange hesitancy ? " The army 
must be re-organized " : we waited until it had 
passed its maximum of organization, and began to 
decline. " The rivers are too highly swollen " : we 
stood still until they had subsided, u The roads are 
utterly impassable for artillery " : we waited until 
they were dry. " When the leaves fall " : the last 


leaf fell. " An attack from the enemy is momenta- 
rily expected " : we waited, and it came not. " Sec- 
retary Deepdiver remarked to-day, in conversation 
with a gentleman, that the country would be gratified 
by stirring news in ten days " : twenty pass, and not 
a stir. 

The nation arraigned this slumber of their military 
energies, and has awaited the plea of its commanders. 
Thoughtless nation, your commanders had a very 
sufficient plea. They slept because the nation slept. 
Their eyes were heavy because atmospheric conditions 
cannot be resisted. A certain black drug, infused 
into the atmosphere of this country, has made open 
eyes sectional, and Sleepy Hollow national ; and, as 
Rip Van Winkle shouted for King George before the 
astonished subjects of the United States, the grad- 
uates of a certain institution, undoubtedly built on 
the verge of Sleepy Hollow, have not yet heard that 
we are no longer colonies of the South, and subjects 
of Slavery. 

General McClellan occupied his position at the 
head of the United States forces, not because he had 
lived or served up to that position, — for several 
silly proclamations in Western Virginia, the Potomac 
blockade, and Ball's Bluff were all on his record, 
and not one great deed, — but simply because, when 
his superiors snored, he was not so disrespectful as 
to keep awake. He is not a large man, neither is 
he a fool ; and he could peep through his eyelids 


enough to see what befell such wakeful spirits as 
Fremont and Lane. General McClellan was not and 
is not a traitor ; but in this war every pro-slavery 
heart is, whether consciously or not, a partially dis- 
loyal heart, because it cannot possibly be awake to the 
real forces in this conflict. It was fixed in his mind 
that no person who should slay many Southerners 
could fail to exasperate the South, and both sections 
would never unite sweetly upon any such man. 

It would have been impossible for McClellan to have 
remained commander during that long inaction, if the 
people had not been in a rusty, sleepy transition state : 
when they first sat up in bed, they called for some such 
man as Stanton ; for the President is the faithful 
tongue of the people's wishes, however poorly he may 
supply their wants, 

Well, in a military sense we have waked up ; but in 
dealing intelligently and directly with the cause and 
support of the Rebellion we are repeating the McClel- 
lan slumber over again. In this higher army than 
the military, it would be a formidable order to have 
all the sentinels who sleep at their posts shot. 

There is our honored President, for example, none 
can doubt that he is wide awake before the portal of 
Military Opportunity ; but before the open door by 
which our nation may pass onward to liberation from 
all that makes war possible, he gives scarcely a sign. 
It is evident that the worthy President would like to 
have God on his side : he must have Kentucky. 


Iii all this the nation hears only the echo of its own 
loud snore. What are leaders to do when, at a time 
when the very existence of the nation is threatened, 
they hear sensible men asking old cant questions about 
the Negroes, and what to do with them ? 

Is the Negro descended from the same original pair 
with the Caucasian ? — For what is the use of our 
nation's being sav6d, if it is not ethnologically saved ? 

Will not the Negro steal our silver spoons ? How 
dreary were a spoonless nationality ! (A happy 
thought ! We can employ Floyd or some other 
Caucasian as a missionary to inculcate honesty to 

What is meant in the Scriptures by "Cursed be 
Canaan " ? For, of course, national existence is noth- 
ing if not exegetical ? 

Again, what is the origin of evil ? For is not death 
better than unteleological life ? 

That we should be spending three millions a day, 
and our men perishing by thousands, whilst we discuss 
the destiny and capacity of the negro, reminds one of 
the position taken by Anacharsis Clootz in the French 
Assembly, " that the democratic principle was of such 
importance, that it would be cheaply purchased by the 
total destruction of the human race from the face of the 
planet " ! 

What shall be done with the Negro, forsooth ! Can 
we do any worse with him than we have done, and are 
doing ? Can he be any heavier burden to us than now, 


when he is the fulcrum on which turns every lever set 
to overthrow our liberties and lives ? May we not 
respectfully submit that it is about as much as we can 
attend to, to take care of Society in 1862, without 
adjusting the social relations and conditions of 1962 ? 
May it not be surmised that the future will have brains 
to attend to its own affairs ? May we not suggest, also, 
that, having once decided what we would " do with the 
Negro," Almighty God does n't seem to have been over 
pleased at our disposal of him in that instance, and 
seems very likely to have a share in any future disposal 
of him ? 

Accuse not thy generals, American nation ! Thou 
art the drugged sleeper. Before thee with thy heavy- 
eyed millions, Liberty, in sight of the swords and staves 
of avowed foes and seeming friends, which threaten its 
life, stands appealing, " Oouldst thou not watch with 
me one hour ? " It may be that Liberty shall have to 
say presently to the slumbering sentinels, " Sleep on 
now: my hour is come"; — -and must needs pass to 
its resurrection through the dark portal of her chosen 
nation's grave. 




Montesquieu said that it would not do to suppose 
that Negroes were men, lest it should turn out that 
whites were not. 

The sarcasm falls almost exclusively upon this coun- 
try, where alone the indecent nonsense concerning the 
nature of the Negro survives. In 1781, in the case 
of the ship Zong, whose master had thrown one hun- 
dred and thirty-two slaves alive into the sea to cheat 
the underwriters, the first jury gave a verdict in favor 
of the master and owners : they had a right to do 
what they had done. Lord Mansfield is reported to 
have said on the bench : " The matter left to the jury 
is, Was it from necessity ? For they had no doubt — 
though it shocks one very much — that the case of 
slaves was the same as if horses had been thrown 
overboard." Such was the Negro in the eye of the 
law when Sharpe and Clarkson began their efforts. 
The latter of these, early in his career, made a col- 
lection of African productions and manufactures, as 
indications of what the Negro, despite all disparage- 
ments, had attained. They were considered remark- 
able by some of the best judges in England. Mr. 
Pitt was especially interested in them. " On sight of 
these," says Clarkson, " many sublime thoughts seemed 


to rush at once into his mind, some of which he ex- 
pressed." Prom this time the project, which was 
always dear to him, of the civilization of Africa arose 
in his mind. A half-century of healthy development 
brought England to its senses as regards the Negro. 

Since then the Negro has lived to prove that those 
who are counting upon perpetual degradation and 
final extermination as his destiny are running against 
the grain of things. He has shown a vitality equal 
to that of the white race, where both are out of their 
native climates ; and where the white man has been 
vindicating his claim to superiority only by enslaving 
him, — empowered to do so by having armed nations 
behind him, — the Negro has shown himself easily 
superior to his master. This he has always proved as 
soon as the outside pressure of law and force was re- 
moved, and a fair trial of strength between him and 
his master permitted. He has become the dominant 
race in the West Indies ; he has superseded the white 
man in Haiti altogether ; and the unanimous verdict 
of our soldiers now in the South is, that the Negro is 
the superior race in that section of America. Of the 
eight millions of whites in the Slave States, six are 
" poor white trash," and no one who has seen them 
can compare them to the black laborers there. And 
when it comes to upper classes, it is not easy to 
decide that Jeff Davis's coachman is better fitted to 
be the slave than the master of Jeff, or that Robert 
Small is not equal to Pickens, Moyd, or any of their 


At Monticello the exquisite mosaic floor, made by 
one of Mr. Jefferson's slaves, is yet in good preserva- 
tion. The old friend of that statesman who showed 
it to me said : " Mr. Jefferson always took pleasure in 
showing his visitors this exquisite piece of workman- 
ship. It was made by one of his slaves, born on 
his estate, who never had any instruction as a me- 
chanic. Mr. Jefferson always believed that the Negro 
race had a destiny." 

There is the important fact ; there lies the Encela- 
dus under this volcano, — the Negro has an impor- 

and plans have been arranged with reference to an- 
other theory: we had assumed his moral and political 
non-existence, and in so doing we have gone, day by 
day, more and more against the eternal fact. And 
unless we speedily have that lie which this nation has 
actively credited purged out of it, it will drag us into 
the abyss prepared for lies from before the foundation 
of the world. Elwood Fisher has prepared for this 
nation an epitaph which runs : " Here lies a people 
who lost their own liberty in trying to give freedom 
to the Negro." The hope is too high for us to in- 
dulge, that this nation can thus become the dying 
Saviour among the nations ! If the nation should 
perish, history would engrave on its tomb, " Here lies 
a people who lost their own liberty in trying to pur- 
sue through a Red Sea those for whose liberty God 
had parted the waves. " 


The worst symptom in the case of America is the 
prejudice against the Negro, — a disease which always 
has called for fearful cauterization. What is in re- 
fined society unmitigated vulgarity, is in this country 
considered elegance. A few years ago, President Rob- 
erts of Liberia was returning from America through 
England. The captain of the steamship would not 
allow this cultivated and distinguished gentleman to 
sit at table with the white passengers ; and persisted 
in his refusal, even after a majority of the whites had 
requested otherwise. A day after their arrival in 
England, Mr. Roberts, having some business with the 
captain, repaired to the steamship, and found him in 
the presence of many of the passengers who had wit- 
nessed his treatment on board. On being addressed, 
the captain said to President Roberts, " Come down this 
evening at 8 o'clock, and I will attend to you." u At 
that hour," replied Roberts, " I am engaged to dine 
with the Queen of England." The confused captain 
named another hour, amidst the explosive laughter of 
the company. This Negro, so offensive to the steam- 
boat aristocracy of America, is received as diplomatic 
minister in every other government of Christendom, 
and at Rome the African bishop stands beside the 
whitest who in America may be helping to enslave 
his race. Is there wonder that in many parts of Eu- 
rope "American" should be synonymous with " vul- 
gar " ? 

It has been whispered that Haiti will appoint a white 


man to act for that country at Washington. I cannot 
believe that the President of Haiti could so far degrade 
his country before the world as to make such an ap- 
pointment ; but if there are any such influences at 
work, it behooves every friend of freedom to protest 
loudly and strongly against it. If Haiti cannot be rep- 
resented here by her blackest Negro, let her be unrep- 
resented ; this nation already perceives that we need 
her more than she needs us. But more than all the 
fruits, spices, and wealth she can bring us, we need 
her black minister in Washington. We need him there 
as the touchstone of our civilization ; we need him as 
the magic mantle to reveal every sham and every im- 
purity in th$ Republican Court. 

" I esteem," says Emerson, " the occasion of this 
jubilee (West Indian Emancipation) to be the proud 
discovery that the black race can contend with the 
white ; that, in the great anthem which we call History, 
a piece of many parts and vast compass, after playing 
a long time a very low and subdued accompaniment, 
they perceive the time arrived when they can strike 
in with effect, and take a master's part in the music. 
The civility of the world has reached that pitch, that 
their more moral genius is becoming indispensable, 
and the quality of this race is to be honored for 
itself. For this they have been preserved in sandy 
deserts, in rice swamps, in kitchens and shoe-shops, so 
long; now let them emerge, clothed and in their own 
form." • 


No danger from the Southern Confederacy threatens 
us so much as this cry of our rulers for the coloniza- 
tion of freed Negroes. A million square miles of un- 
tilled lands to which their sinews are by the laws of 
Nature consecrated, are clamoring for them, and yet 
madmen in power are talking of exiling them ! Haiti, 
Liberia, and now the Danish government, are all in- 
triguing to get these laborers from us ; and nothing 
but the resolution of the Negroes, that they will not 
go unless forced, saves us from this fearful loss. 
America will one day kneel, and thank that people 
that they held out against the stupidity and ignorance 
of the colonizationists, whose projects would blight one 
half of our territory. If, by any unfortunate means, 
America shall be robbed of this race, posterity will 
know the President under whom the exodus occurs 
only by the name of Pool. 

What are we to do with the Negro ? Is the Anglo- 
Saxon brain on this hemisphere softening ? If so, 
some day in the midst of wasted fields and desolate 
lands, we may be burdened with the question, What 
can we do without him ? 

No ! this race is to remain with us ; it has brought 
from the remote past and fervid East a sacred stream 
of vitality, by it alone now represented upon earth, 
which it is appointed to mingle with the current of 
humanity, and without which man in the New World 
could never fill out the outlines sketched for him by 
the Supreme Artist. 




Honored Sir : — Passing homeward one night, about 
three years ago, I encountered a large crowd, who were 
listening to some speaker. A crowd in the market 
space of our Queen City was nothing unusual, and I 
was thinking only how to open my way through it, when, 
in clear, earnest tones, these words fell upon my ear : 
" I am satisfied that the only just and effectual method 
of dealing with Slavery is that which shall always recog- 
nize and deal with it as wrong." 

In a moment I turned, and remained for over an 
hour to hear a powerful statement of which that sen- 
tence was the key-note. The next time I saw that 
speaker it was as he passed along the same street, amid 
the ovations of the people who had helped to elect 
him as a President who should deal with Slavery as 
a great wrong, — how great they did not then know, 
or much more than surmise. 

Since that day, Sir, in which the sight of a duly- 
elected honest, antislavery President filled our eyes 
with happy tears, this country has seen nothing which 
does not indicate that you mean to deal with the 
accursed thing as wrong. 

Though your administration had been proved to 
have exhausted itself in having called out seventy-five 


thousand men to defend the integrity of this nation, 
the people could never have forgotten that, in' doing 
so, you did a greater deed than Cortez, burning the 
ships of ignoble compromise behind us. 

But, Sir, your administration did not exhaust itself 
in that : the laurels shall never fade which twine 
about the brow of the President under whose admin- 
istration Slavery was abolished in the District, and 
Haiti recognized, and Emancipation first proposed from 
the White House. 

But all these things will not save this Republic 
from dissolution. No one who has ever looked of 
late into your eye, as I have, can fail to see that 
every fibre of heart and brain in you has become 
identified with the rescue of this Union from the 
perils which threaten it, and that ■ there is no per- 
sonal sacrifice which you could not make for that 
end. Nor can any observing person fail to see that 
the tendency of your mind and action is steadily 
toward Emancipation ; whilst many, who know that in 
such an emergency as this a day is often a century, 
feel keenly that, not for the slave's sake, but for our 
own, we need sharp, bold, decisive, in a word, heroic 

The naturalist Thoreau used to amuse us much 
by thrusting his hand into the Concord River, and 
drawing out at will a fine fish, which would lie qui- 
etly in his hand : when we thrust in ours, the fish 
would scamper out of reach. It seemed like a mir- 

6* I 


acle, until he explained to us that his power to take 
up the fish depended upon his knowledge of the color 
and location of the fish's eggs. The fish will protect 
its spawn ; and when Thoreau placed his hand un- 
derneath that, the fish, in order to protect it, would 
swim immediately over it, and the fingers had only 
to close for it to be caught. 

Slavery is the spawn out of which the armed forces 
of treason and rebellion in the South have been 
hatched ; and by an inviolable instinct they will rush, 
at any cost, to protect Slavery. You have only, Sir, 
to take Slavery in your grasp, then close your fingers 
around the rebellion. 

This I have tried to prove ; also, that the only way 
of grasping the rebellion-spawn is to declare that this 
nation no longer recognizes the institution of Slavery 
as in existence. This we humbly implore you to do, 
by the martial power which Slavery has compelled 
you to use in place of the normal powers of the Con- 
stitution. For, Sir, from the day in which Slavery 
became to this government an outlaw, Liberty be- 
came, like ancient Thebes, hundred-gated. 

It is a high circumstance, Sir, whether its full 
bearing was seen by our fathers or not, that the com- 
mander-in-chief of our army and navy is at the same 
time the chief guardian of our national honor and 
political liberties ; and whilst a mere military general 
may have no higher draft to make upon martial 
power than that which will enable him to make this 


or that expedition successful, we have a right to claim 
that our President shall raise a higher standard of 
Necessity, — one including not only the preservation 
of our national existence, but of that security with- 
out military despotism, that honor without stain, which 
alone can make existence worthy of preservation. 

The air is full of noisy objections against the re- 
quest of your petitioners for an edict of emancipation. 
Some of these remind me of the Sheik's objection to 
lending his rope. When Abul Alladin asked of him 
the loan of a rope, the Sheik said, " I need it to tie 
up a measure of sand." " Need a rope to tie up 
sand!" exclaimed Abul in astonishment. "0 neigh- 
bor," replied the Sheik, "any reason will do when 
one does not wish to lend a thing." There is no use 
in dealing with objections which arise from the desire 
and determination to retain Slavery in this country, 
at any time ; certainly none in addressing one who 
has declared his determination to recognize and deal 
with it only as wrong. 

The people have witnessed with indignation how 
those who lately denounced you as a sectional candi- 
date, because they saw that, if you reached the White 
House, you would be the President, and not Slavery, 
are now at Washington, standing in the shoes yet 
warm from the feet of traitors, and, in the interest 
of Slavery, throwing it perpetually in your face that 
you entered the arena upon the platform of non-inter- 
ference with Slavery in the States. You, Sir, cannot 


be deceived by such twaddle ; and if you fear that any 
honest people are, I pray you to dismiss the misgiv- 
ing. They know, Sir, that interference with Slavery 
in the States was not in your Chicago Platform ; they 
know also that the loss of twenty thousand men pur- 
suant to your proclamation was not in your Chicago 
Platform. The remedy must change with the disease : 
the physician may give an appropriate medicine for 
measles ; but if the measles should presently change 
to small-pox, what should we say of a physician who 
should attempt to vindicate his consistency by giving 
the same medicine after the disease had changed ? 
,The Chicago Platform prescribed for measles; but you 
have to treat a virulent case of small-pox, and the 
patient will not last until you can get party-men to 
make a new platform. 

It is demonstrable, Sir, that in every point of view 
— constitutional, ethical, or personal — you have more 
right to kill an institution that injures man, than you 
have to kill a man. Institutions at the best are the 
mere scaffoldings about man. 

But you are assured that this measure would divide 
the North. In contradiction of this, we have the lesson 
of a recent experience. One of our generals did, in 
the face of the world, take the God of Justice on his 
side ; he who had planted our banner on the highest 
point of land in America found a higher height, and 
planted it there, when he declared every slave free 
whom he could declare free. What was the result ? 


Like a crystal stream from everlasting hills upon a 
parched and thirsty land came his proclamation ; the 
nation was filled with joy and power ; the young men 
sprang to their feet as they read it, and their hearts 
throbbed with a divine enthusiasm ; rank after rank 
poured westward, and Europe for the first and only 
time glowed with sympathy and admiration. Even the 
vilest presses which had been dragged along after our 
banner — the New York Herald, the Boston Courier 
and Post, and Cincinnati Enquirer — seemed to feel a 
touch of nobleness, and cried Bravo ! to the Pathfinder 
as he scaled this loftier height than any sierra. All 
felt that it was our only great victory, our compensa- 
tion for every defeat. For one noble week we were a 
united, electrified, invincible nation. Alas ! since that 
week a humiliated, discontented, divided, muttering na- 
tion, we have been but a monument of the tremendous 
power of that invisible thing called Justice, to uplift 
those who ally themselves therewith, and to divide 
and weaken those who " modify " her plain mandates. 
Prom that week we have been divided, and the only 
token of a return to the same unity appeared when our 
President took lately a step toward that standard of lib- 
erty which he had furled for reasons which seemed to 
him patriotic and necessary. And as he shall take step 
after step upward and onward, more and more will he 
find the North gather into a solid phalanx around him. 
" But our officers and soldiers would lay down their 
arms." As far as our soldiers are concerned, this is 


but a base and silly libel. The records show that 
enlistments tripled in number after Fremont's procla- 
mation, all the soldiers wishing to go into his depart- 
ment ; and that they were seriously checked when 
that edict of freedom was modified. As for our gen- 
erals, it would be one of the best things about such 
an edict that it might cause some of them to resign ; — 
I hope the majority would go home, with their friends 
Patterson and Stone, who have gone before. Who 
would not be glad to hear that every half-hearted 
leader had been cowed back by the determined front 
of Liberty, which he had pretended to serve whilst 
really serving Slavery ? Once, says an old fable, the 
cat, hearing that the hen was sick, went to pay her a 
visit. After condoling with the invalid, the cat said, 
" Really, I should like to serve you in any way in my 
power. What can I do for you ? " The invalid hen 
cast an uneasy glance at the yellow eyes and hungry 
chops of the cat, and replied, " You can do me a signal 
service by leaving me. I think if you will leave me, I 
shall be much better." Some people's room is better 
than their company ; and amongst these may be reck- 
oned those who, in a war for Liberty, esteem it their 
duty to hunt down, to crush with an iron hand, to 
refuse entrance within their lines to the innocent and 
wronged who seek their liberty also ; or who know so 
little of the old Orphic strain to which the walls of 
the universe arose, as to drive from their camp the 
minstrels who sing of Liberty. 


With reference, however, to this fear of dividing the 
North or their army, we may admit that the kindling 
and spreading of such a fire would rouse up some 
nests of serpents in both. But those who have studied 
most deeply epochs related to that through which we 
are now passing, know how fatal has been any wait- 
ing for complete unity. 

No cause has ever kindled the enthusiasm which 
could sustain it to the end, until it was elevated 
enough to slough off its baser adherents. 

No cause ever produced the heroes necessary to its real 
and final victory, until it was pure enough to separate, 
as on God's threshing-floor, the chaff from the wheat. 

Our fathers of the Revolution never gained any 
great victories until the war about taxes became a 
war for complete independence ; but when that period 
came, they had to fight the Tories with one hand and 
the British with the other. For a long time it was 
difficult to say whether Tories or Independents were in 
the majority ; but the world was given again to see 
that strength does not lie in majorities, but rather in 
causes so glorious that every man standing for them 
is a hundred-fold the man he would be fighting on the 
lowest plane. 

As for more division coming of the elevation of our 
cause than is implied in this weeding and winnowing 
of our ranks, a higher force enters in all such cases to 
prevent it. That higher force is Heroism. That elec- 
tric battery has a line to every human heart. 


The demagogues do not estimate this in making their 
calculations. We had a little over a year ago Govern- 
ors of Free States declaring that any troops marching 
southward must fight their militia first. We had a 
Senator declaring that disunion would run a plough- 
share along the great National Eoad. Mr. Lincoln 
resolved that he would stand or fall by the Republic, 
and answered all these prophecies with the call for an 
army, and lo ! instead of a ploughshare dividing the 
Northwest, instead of a fire in the rear, the North, 
which Daniel Webster said had no existence, rises as 
one man at his heroic call. The first touch of heroism 
in the government created anew this nation. 

Then the demagogues said, " But just touch a slave, 
and these men will lay down their arms." Fremont, 
as we have seen, responds with a declaration that the 
slaves of rebels are freemen, and the country gathers 
about him with a tenacity which jealous officials and 
investigating committees strive vainly to weaken. 

If there is anything proved by our experience in 
this war, it is that one true man may chase ten thou- 
sand old-line Democrats. Try it, Mr. President ; re- 
member that your boldest word has had the noblest 
echo from the people, and try a braver one yet ! Utter, 
loud enough for the nation, the slave, the world to 
hear, the watchword, Liberty to all, and though trai- 
tors in the North may writhe, they shall be as fangless 
as the Rebellion shall thenceforth be ; for every true 
heart upon this earth is at your side from that instant, 
to live and to die. 


You will hear the cry "Abolitionist!" no doubt: 
I will not believe that it can terrify you. What is an 
Abolitionist? He is simply a man who desires liberty 
for the entire family of man : — this is a wretch das- 
tardly enough to oppose having that done to another 
man, his wife and child, which he would not like to 
have done to himself, his wife and child ! George 
Washington, when he declared that the first wish of 
his heart was to have Slavery abolished, — George 
Washington, when he called to be Chief Justice of 
the United States the founder and President of the 
New York Abolition Society, John Jay, — was this 
monster, an Abolitionist ! His real farewell address, 
the will made on his death-bed, freeing his slaves, 
was an appeal for abolition. 

I believe there are few who doubt that it is your 
jealous care for the interests of the Border States, 
and a (supposed) large number of Unionists in the far 
South, that constitutes the chief obstacle in the way 
of this radical cure. Even so far as their own testi- 
mony on this subject is concerned, we have no reason 
to believe that the real Southern Unionists are repre- 
sented in this emergency by the men who have been 
sent to Washington merely by habit in comparatively 
unimportant times. What reason have we to believe 
that Southern Unionists are represented by Andy John- 
son or Mr. Crittenden, more than Ohioans by Vallan- 
dingham? The people do not reach you so skilfully 
or readily as these politicians. I remember. Sir, to 


have heard you expressing a doubt as to the readi- 
ness of these people for any dealing with Slavery, 
when a moment before I had been conversing with 
a very intelligent Unionist from Florida, a large pro- 
prietor and slaveholder in that State, who informed 
me that he had been in the anteroom of the White 
House for several hours a day for nearly three weeks, 
without being received or heard. He came to give it 
as his opinion, and that of the half-dozen Union men 
whom he knew in his State, that to abolish Slavery 
was the one way of putting down the Rebellion. I 
fear that many of those hours were occupied by men 
from the Border States who would not have represented 
the real loyalists of the South half so well. An ac- 
quaintance of some years with the people of the moun- 
tain ranges extending through Maryland down to Ala- 
bama leads me to affirm that two thirds of them would 
welcome a decree of emancipation by the government ; 
whilst a generous response would not fail from the 
eighteen thousand Germans of New Orleans, and the 
five thousand apiece of Richmond and Louisville. Of 
Missouri I need not speak : nothing but a disability 
in the Constitution of that State prevents an almost 
immediate response to your offer of " co-operation." 
That State had, before the Rebellion broke out, 150,000 
slaves ; it now has less than 50,000. A decree of 
emancipation, paying loyal masters of course, would 
be a great relief to that State from its complications. 
There is but a very small number of loyal slave- 


holders in the Border States ; and surely they could 
not show their loyalty more than by refusing to allow 
this slight interest to stand in the way of the national 
safety. What would the country say, if, when you 
asked men owning land around Washington or St. Louis 
to yield their land and houses, that national defences 
might be made perfect, they had refused ? They 
would be esteemed disloyal, and their lands taken. 
You, sir, have given the handful of slaveholders in the 
Border States a good military reason why they should 
emancipate, in your special message ; to the country 
it seems a sufficient touchstone of their loyalty or 

Suppose they should not receive the full market 
value for their slaves, — though we could pay that at 
far less cost than allow them to remain slaves, — 
should the loyalists of the Slave States have more in- 
demnity than the loyalists of the Free States ? Are we 
not all, on account of this institution they are hugging, 
losing our business, income, paying enormous taxes ? 
Shall our capitalists in the Free States demand of the 
government so much on the dollar for all they have 
lost ? Loyal men, North and South, must expect to 
lose ; and though to hush the crying children, and to 
be generous to those who are unused to labor, we are 
all willing to compensate these Southern loyalists, yet 
in strict justice the injured commerce of the North has 
as much right to demand compensation. 

In God's name, let us have no half-work in this 


matter ! This pitiful little interest must not spancel the 
nation in the great stride now demanded of it. Though 
to them emancipation itself will bring wealth and more 
lasting benefits, yet let them be paid ; as Sumner said, 
" A bridge of gold would be cheap, should the retreating 
fiend demand it." 

One stroke of Titian's brush, it is said, changed the 
face of a leopard to that of a beautiful woman. Free- 
dom is a finer artist, and beneath her touch, barren 
Virginia and wasted Kentucky and semi-chaotic Mis- 
souri would have their myriad sleeping energies break 
forth into smiling bloom and beauty. 

Do you think, Sir, that, after this fearful experience, 
the American people would welcome you and hail you 
as their national saviour if you should restore them the 
Union with Slavery in it ? Never, never ! The masses 
may tell you so, little knowing what a return to 
the Union with Slavery in it means : but it would not 
take long to teach them, and they would heap your 
name with curses ! 

You may think, and they may think, that it would 
be a safe experiment to try : you may say, " The insti- 
tution must be on the down-hill : it can never rule the 
country again." 0, Sir, I beseech you to remember 
that it was precisely because Slavery seemed to our 
fathers to be on the down-hill, precisely because they 
thought they saw its grave already dug in the limita- 
tion of the slave-trade, that they suffered it to exist 
in the new government. They dealt with it as on 


the down-hill, and lo ! we reap the bitter results of 
their mistake. 

Slavery has far less appearance now of being on the 
down-hill than it had then. 

Good things come hard ; but you have only to leave 
your field unoccupied by valuable growths one season 
for it to be filled with weeds. If you could give us 
the Union again with Slavery in it, — which God 
forbid ! — it would only be for the old strife of wheat 
and tare to be renewed, only to have new war-fires 
kindled in which to burn the tares which the enemy 
is ever ready to sow and foster. 

But, Sir, it is very plain that the alternative of re- 
storing the Union with Slavery in it is not longer before 
you : you are to restore us the Union without Slavery, 
or you are to restore to us a country with its form of 
government radically changed. These are the alterna- 
tives. The sword can kill the body, but not the soul : 
it must leave the disloyal element, the moral causes 
of rebellion, in full activity. The sword cannot change 
muttering hate to love, or treachery to good faith. It 
is fundamental in the theory of our government, that, 
from the Presidency down to a village justice, people 
must be represented by officers elected by themselves 
and from their own midst. There could never have 
been any obstacle to the glorious development of re- 
publican government in this country, had we not taken 
into it a so-called institution whose nature it was to 
prey upon the very tissues of all government. That 


which monarchies had been unable to get along with, 
we tried to preserve in a republic ; and the experiment 
has turned out like the ancient mode of punishment 
which bound a living body limb to limb, face to face, 
with a rotting corpse, until the living should perish by 
the stench of the dead. 

Now, either we must cut the cords which bind us to 
this body of death, or it must assimilate us to itself; 
either we must be free from Slavery, or we must adopt 
its rules,- — we must impose masters upon eight mil- 
lions of people, we must rule by military patrol, we 
must suspend the guaranties of the citizen's rights for 
military reasons. And thus American Liberty, from 
being a rock under our feet, would become the merest 
shifting quicksand. 

Every time, Sir, that the gates of Forts Warren and 
Lafayette swung open, the shriek of their hinges pierced 
every heart in America which knew the sacred value 
of those writs and forms which Treason compelled you 
to set aside ; for they knew that, whilst you could be 
trusted, it was not certain that your successor could 
be. Our fathers had a good old version of a Psalm 
which ran thus : — 

" He digged a pit, 
He digged it deep, 
He digged it for his brother, 
But through his sin, 
He did fall in 
The pit he digged for t' other." 

Would it not be poetic justice, Mr. President, if, Slav- 


ery having digged this pit of arbitrary and martial law 
for us, it should be allowed to slide into the pit it 
" digged for t' other " ? 

Sir, in five years the most ardent Universalist would 
provide a special clause for the everlasting damnation 
of the man who helps to have that pit filled up without 
Slavery being at the bottom of it ! 

Let me not be regarded as one of those who are 
ready to cavil at the President's use of these unusual 
powers ; they were used honestly, firmly, and in no case 
for persecution ; but there were many who could not 
help thinking how much better it were if the same 
ends could be reached by sacrificing, not a pound of 
living flesh, but the cancer feeding on that flesh, — 
not the writ of Habeas Corpus, but the base interest 
that makes men traitors ! 

The Hour I have called Golden, but it comes to 
us in sombre, dreary habiliments. Ah, God ! to pass 
through these hospitals where lie the young men who 
a year ago were the ruddy flowers of happy homes ! 
To see the wounded, rebel and loyal, seated on straw 
in wagons, foot-sole to foot-sole, the same clear, frank 
eyes meeting each other, the same young, honest 
voices from both, and not to see the horrid demon 
driving both ! Alas for the hearts on the battle-field 
and those at home ; for the ball that pierces any sol- 
dier's heart never lodges there, but speeds onward to 
pierce other hearts far away ; and for the broken 
prophecies and promises of life ; for those whose life 


ebbs away to-day where no hand is near to soothe, 
no kind one near to receive the last sigh, and treas- 
ure for the dear ones at home the last message of 
love ! 

You are our President, and, in a sacred sense, 
these are all your children ; and now you seem to 
me like one whose name you bear, and who, in obe- 
dience to the first Voice which he heard, laid his be- 
loved son upon the altar of the Highest ; but when 
thus his faith was proved, lo, an angel appeared, 
and cried, Stay thy hand ! and the angel pointed to 
a brute which God had provided for that sacrifice in 
place of his son. Father, you have done well in 
obeying the first voice which called for the painful 
sacrifice of your own children ; but listen well, I 
implore you, if there be not an angel of peace crying, 
Stay thy hand ! Watch well if there be not a 
shining finger pointing to the Brute which, and 
which alone, God hath provided for the sacrifice of 
this hour ! 




Leaden is the casket before us, and on it is writ- 
ten, " Who chooseth me must give and hazard all 
he hath." 

Leaden, meagre, and pale ; but he is a fool who 
would choose the caskets of gold and silver in its 
place ; for it contains Liberty. 

Bresquet, jester to Francis L, kept a Calendar of 
Fools. When Charles V., confiding in the generosity 
of Francis, passed through France to appease the 
rebellion of Gaunt, Bresquet put that Emperor into 
the Calendar of Fools. His king asked him the 
cause. He answered, "Because you have suffered q,t 
the hands of Charles the greatest bitterness that ever 
prince did from another ; nevertheless, he would trust 
his person into your hands." " Why, Bresquet," 
said the king, " what wilt thou say if thou seest him 
pass back in as great safety as if he marched through 
the midst of Spain." Said Bresquet, " Why, then 
I will put him out of the Calendar of Fools, and 
put you in." 

History also keeps a Calendar of Fools. 

It has already ascribed it to the insanity and folly, 
which, thank God, form such large composite parts 
of all evil, that Slavery has cast off its legal pro tec- 
7 j 


tion, and passes through the country it has so foully 
wronged, a branded felon and outlaw. But if this 
be asinine in Slavery, what place in History's Cal- 
endar of Fools will be too prominent for this nation, 
should it permit this devil to pass as safely as ever, 
crushing under his cloven foot every fair growth of 
Liberty, and impudently defying the country upon 
which he has brought every conceivable woe ? 

There is danger that, if left to our politicians, this 
golden hour will simply inscribe " Yankee " on the 
Calendar of Pools ; for there is nothing so unfathom- 
ably stupid as moral cowardice. " Pear nothing but 
fear," says Montaigne. To-day you can count on 
the fingers of one hand the men in Washington who 
can say Abolitionist without the normal prefix damned. 
When the President, even, wishes to use the phrase 
in a friendly way, he says Abolishment. It is plain 
that these men can be used by the earnest hearts 
of America only for filtration. As the waters of our 
great Western rivers are passed through filters of 
stone before they are clear enough to drink, so the 
somewhat muddy streams of American Liberty must 
find in Cabinet and Congress their stony filters, 
whose restraint will be purifying. 

But it will be purifying only if we see that the 
streams pass through them : remaining checked by 
them, the waters shall become stagnant and poi- 

We have no Joshua to bid the sun stand still and 


prolong our Golden Hour beyond its last diamond 
minute. Meanwhile, the inevitable horizon of earthly 
necessity approaches nearer and nearer to it. The 
exigencies of Northern society may assist traitors to 
put an end to this war, even if it be not a noble 
end : the heavy taxes may bring men down on their 
bellies. The rude state of society in the South — not 
more complex than an oyster — can co-exist with 
the rude conditions of war ; but the North will pres- 
ently find an apology for evading the responsibility 
it should fulfil ; for it has no right to allow a bar- 
barous Slavery-despotism to build itself upon a half 
of this continent. 

But will foreign powers allow this war to continue 
indefinitely ? 

Revolutions are not bad, sometimes : the revolutions 
of this planet, for instance : they go on and do not up- 
set the world's universal table, nor rust its loom, nor 
interfere with France's afternoon cigar. Nay ! by such 
revolution all these are supplied. It seems to get 
a slow entrance into the American cerebrum, that in 
a family of nations, as in a family of individuals, one 
member is not permitted to throw all the rest into 
confusion. Enough time is to be allowed for the vin- 
dication of national, as of personal individuality ; but 
when nationality becomes burning down St. Paul's to 
broil Jonathan's steak, then nationality is the syno- 
nyme of nuisance. It is sure to be abated. My Ameri- 
can masters, if you desire to have the nations pause 


and admire before your Revolution, and not hustle 
it off as a sham, let it be one spheral and vital, lead- 
ing on springtide and waving summer-fields, for you 
and for the weary world. Heavens ! what an opportu- 
nity you have for this ! 

The most imminent danger now, as it has been from 
the first, is that we may be induced by the semi-loyal 
States, whose treachery is all the more dangerous be- 
cause it believes itself the only loyalty, to allow Slav- 
ery to remain unburied, to be revived under their 

Pew as are the slaveholders and the slaves in these 
Border States, let us not be deceived into thinking 
them of little importance in the issue. There is a 
German maxim which reads, " Give the Devil a lock 
of your hair, and he will be sure to get your whole 

Three Hessian flies only were seen upon the cabin- 
wall of a Dutch ship which approached an American 
wharf ; now what field in the continent has not known 
the devastations of the Hessian fly ? Six Norway 
rats swam ashore from another Dutch ship in our 
waters ; now where is the cellar without them ? Two 
hundred and forty years ago twenty slaves were brought 
to Jamestown, Va., in Dutch ship No. 3 ; — now where 
can you go, from Bunker Hill to Sumter, without 
hearing the rattle of a slave's chain ? 

Brothers, let us make a clean sweep of this thing 
whilst we are about it! 


An ancient Persian scripture says : " Justice is so 
dear to the heart of Nature, that if at last an atom of 
injustice should be found, the blue sky would shrivel 
like a snake-skin to cast it off." 

A single slave held in this nation will break it to 
fragments again, and as often as we try it ; just as a 
single powder-grain ignited at the heart of the rock 
of Gibraltar would rive it asunder. Will those who 
know that the rights of the poorest man are of more 
importance than a thousand unions, ever keep silent 
or patient with even one fetter in the land ? By God, 
Never ! 

These slaves of the loyal States we take because they 
are essential to any permanent peace in the country, 
and if we are compelled to abnormal strife for peace, 
we have a military right to strive for a permanent 
peace, and not merely to defeat an army in this or that 
engagement. We take these slaves as we have taken 
the houses and stock of loyal men on our march. Let 
them bring in their bills. Doubtless we shall have to 
pay more than the number of loyal slaveholders would 
warrant ; for we shall be sure to find, when pay-day 
comes, that every slaveholder had been all along a very 
Abdiel for fidelity: but who shall stop to count the 
money that goes to ransom a race and a nation from 
the slavery which buys and sells the bodies of the one 
and the souls of the other ? 

We shall need liberation first in these Border States, 
not only because we must make a clean sweep of the 


evil, but because these Border State negroes are to be 
our guaranties of good faith to the more Southern 
negroes ; they are to be both our banners hung out 
upon the outer walls, and our telegraph lines along 
which the electric word of Liberation shall flash. 

And here is just where all these confiscation-bills 
will accomplish nothing real. Every slave would see 
that Trumbull's bill would end in a transfer of masters, 
— and he would not respond to it. We must not for- 
get, that between us and those Negroes there stand our 
mediatorial Marylanders, and darling pets, the Kentuck- 
ians, — just sympathetic enough with seceders to buy 
up claims to and descriptions of running slaves, just 
star-spangled enough to get back the same from free 
lines or States, — and from these Border States as 
from an ark, when the deluge subsided, the South 
would be repopulated with the same slaves. 

Have you, friend, in these late months, sat in the 
gallery of Congress, heart-sick, hearing everything dis- 
cussed but the right thing ? The hour-hand wheels 
round and round, and above the clock sits the Muse 
with motionless pen, the very bronze eye sad that no 
true movement could she record on her scroll. Con- 
fiscation, forfeiture, colonization, — the Southern white 
man laughs at these, the black man cannot hear 
them. Does the Negro wish to be exiled ? Or does 
he wish to come North to be kept in jail till two 
witnesses prove his master a traitor ? 

My countrymen, you walk a scymitar-bridge to 


your Paradise, and the billows of hell underneath re- 
ceive him who steps one inch, as much as him who 
steps a yard, aside. 

Sitting there, I was reminded of how an old uncle 
of our neighborhood would quiz us. " Boys," he said, 
once, " I got a letter from a little boy to-day, and 
— ha, ha! — how do you think he spelt dog?" Then 
we all made our guesses, — dogg, doag, dogge, dorg. 
At last, when we have exhausted our ingenuity, the 
old uncle quietly replies, " Why, he spelt it d-o-g, of 
course." Just as idly and as childishly are our rulers 
trifling with the sacred hours, to see if something else 
cannot be made to wield the divine spell of simple 

You are praying for and talking of the coming 
man. Would he find faith in the land? Are you 
quite sure you would not crucify him — or hang him, 
as the American way is — should he come ? That is 
what the Jews did with their Coming Man, after they 
had been praying Heaven to send him for four thou- 
sand years. Two years ago the wild, half-clad fore- 
runner of our coming man, whose meat was wild 
honey, was heard in the wilderness of Virginia, and 
his head was brought in a charger to Slavery: so 
much it cost him to declare the axe laid to the root 
of the accursed tree. How little does this nation 
know what a right and true man, should he break 
into our midst, would do with us ! Little see we the 
piled shreds of broken red-tape, — little the moun- 


tain of the refuse of epaulets and brass buttons! 
He would re-distribute Washington into the original 
elements, and gather it for loam about the roots of 
the sapling he would rear. 

Yet pray on, people, for the coming man ! Not 
as you expect it shall be his advent; but he shall 
come, and before the masses are ready for him. 
Somewhere the granite is crystallizing for his bones ; 
somewhere the metal is refining for his blood ; some- 
where Nature is fashioning the exquisite lobes of his 
brain : presently America's maternal cry shall be 
heard, and the man shall clasp hands with the 

When it is understood to be absolutely certain that 
the honest masses of this country are determined 
never again to compromise with Slavery, nor to al- 
low it the protection of this government, then the 
national saviour will come, by whose life and death 
the nation will be saved. But do these honest masses 
realize that, if a compromise, involving an amnesty 
to Slavery, should be proposed by the Confederates to 
our Cabinet and Congress as at present organized, it 
would certainly be accepted ? 

Up, hearts of America, and let your irrevocable 
" Get thee behind us ! " thunder at the gates of the 
capital, and go crashing through the South, a bomb 
whose flame cannot be extinguished ! Let Slavery 
know that it shall never, never find peace in this na- 
tion ; let your rulers know that, if they shall give you 



a Union with Slavery in it, you will make of it such 
a Union as fire and gunpowder make ! 

The men who are to save this nation, if it is to be 
saved, are those who see that it must and should rise 
or fall with simple justice ; and those who strive for 
a Free Republic must see eye to eye. 

There is not one fibre of moral earnestness, not 
one atom of fidelity or conviction, more than is need- 
ed to rescue the nation from terrible dissolution, or 
the worse fate of a Union sealed in its dishonor. All 
hearts must work, and they must work together. 

The best friend of freedom in the government is 
the President. But in this matter he has refused to 
lead. Repeatedly he said, "If the people feel so, let 
them organize their will and pass it through Con- 
gress," — ignoring the fact that the people had set 
him apart from their millions to organize from the 
feeling of the masses an operative will. Then, com- 
ing up among the people, they all said, " We had 
best leave all this to the President: he is at the 
centre, and knows more than we do ; he '11 do the 
right thing at the right time." And so the President 
and the people have been all along playing at battle- 
door with the Slavery question, each tossing it to the 
other to be dealt with. At length Old Abe agrees to 
take a step. Borrowing a good idea from his former 
occupation, he inserts the smallest edge of a wedge 
into a small crack of the log; then he says to Con- 
gress and the people, " Now, if you want to split that 



log, the way is to strike that wedge." Let us take 
the President at his word, and strike ! 

How can you strike ? Let every man, woman, and 
child in this nation send his or her prayer to the 
Capitol to have Slavery abolished. And warn your 
representative to help this measure or hang himself 
on Capitol Hill before coming back. You need not 
be particular about the way : where there 's a will, 
there 's a way. All these technicalities are so much 
thin disguise for a wavering purpose : let Congress or 
the President rise to the point of striking Slavery 
dead, and whether they are States or Territories, or 
whether Andy Johnson is a military or civic officer, 
will be but a strife of words. 

The right to open schools for Negroes in North 
Carolina, against the laws of that State, includes the 
right to set every slave in it free. 

Upon the North the guilt of this Rebellion is 
heaviest ; and upon the North the retribution will be 
heaviest. The North has been cruel to the South, — 
cruel as is he who continues to trust to an infant the 
knife with which it has already gashed its flesh. 

Northern Conscience, trace honestly the blood- 
drippings of this Rebellion, even if they lead to thine 
own door ! 

If one should see a fellow-man drinking poison, and 
should not strain every sinew to stop it, the law holds 
him justly as the suicide's murderer. How long have 
you sat with folded arms seeing your Southern brother 


drinking this vile drug, which has finally maddened 
him ! How long did your representatives, your clergy- 
men, your merchants, cry Hush to all who lifted up 
the warning voice, — whilst to the slave's cry your ears 
were stopped with cotton, to his oppressor your tongue 
was sweetened with sugar ? And now when, having 
gone forward upon the logical path, cleared by your- 
selves, — mobbing and hanging all who would have 
saved them, — they reach the inevitable climax of their 
fearful disease, still you will not be humane enough to 
take the poison from their lips ; even now you are 
talking in cold blood about Jamaica and sugar, and 
whether by emancipation sugar rose a cent or a cent 
and a quarter; still, whilst your left eye is on your 
banner, your right is on your hogshead ! 

Nearly every human being sharing the blood of him 
who writes these words is arrayed against this country. 
You think them guilty traitors ? But I remember how 
Northern preachers proved to them that they stood 
upon the Rock of Ages, how to them Northern repre- 
sentatives cried, " Great is Slavery, and the Constitution 
is its prophet! " — and I will not fling hard names at 
them, lest they should strike leading Union men who 
deserted the South at the one moment when there 
might have been some courage in clinging to her ; the 

" Ever strong upon the stronger side." 

But you, true-hearted Northmen, I implore, ere you 
go further in this butchery, to try if you cannot save 


the South. What if this Republic should be gasping 
for a simple breath of justice, — - the very atmosphere of 
Liberty ! At least shall we not wash our hands of their 
guilt concerning the crushed black and the equally 
crushed white of the South? 0, is there no power 
in Love greater than any that Hate can wield ? Is 
there no strength in Eternal Justice ? Is there in this 
noon of the nineteenth century so little power of heart 
and brain that we must yet adhere to the methods of 
the savage and the assassin ? 

We smile to-day at the heathen of antiquity who 
hesitated whether he would make his log into a god 
or a three-legged stool ; but our children may weep 
in the retrospect of this day, when a great nation, with 
its government before it to be necessarily refashioned, 
hesitated whether to make of it a centralization whose 
three legs must be Southern barbarism, Northern de- 
moralization, and perpetual strife, or a godlike Union 
impregnable as Justice itself. 

Courage, brothers ! much as the Devil has to do 
with it, -this world still belongs to God. 

Be not entangled in the illusions which twine about 
and bind your rulers. Slavery seems to them a 
strong thing ; so mariners have mistaken a fog-bank 
for the rock of Gibraltar. There is not a mushroom 
that grows which is not stronger than Slavery, against 
which every whispering wind, every sunbeam, every 
leaf, and every human blood-drop is conspiring. I 
know that our government sees it as a strong steed 


without which it cannot ride to victory in the South ; 
but it is a stick horse which it childishly carries, main- 
taining that it is carried by it : just let the govern- 
ment stop carrying Slavery, and it will fall the dead 
stick that it is. I challenge the President to permit 
me — one of the weakest and obscurest friends of 
Freedom — to liberate the slaves of the South, prom- 
ising only that I shall not be interfered with by United 
States law. I will not call for any protection by its 
arms from the Southerners ; the law of gravitation 
will bear the small stone cut from the mountain-top 
down its sides, even to the gulf. 

The whining and cursing of the pro-slavery men in 
Congress are a confession that Slavery, with its swash- 
ing and martial outside, is conscious of this essential 
weakness. Those Border State men know well that 
the winds and rains and heats of this thawing season 
have made its crust so thin that it will not bear the 
pressure of one firm foot. And, alas ! the indecent 
eagerness with which the President hastened to re- 
fasten the gyves upon a million human beings whom 
the noble Hunter had set free, — and who are free, — 
engenders the saddest misgiving of the hour ; namely, 
that the President knows the weakness of Slavery, 
knows that he could free the land forever from that 
crime and its retribution now heavy upon us, but 
heeds some baser end to be subserved by retaining 
this institution. 

A million blood-stains crimson your hands, Mr. Presi- 


dent ; damned spots, which not all the rivers and lakes 
in America can wash away ; but in one globule of ink 
upon your table you may wash them away. If your 
Golden Hour shall pass, and those beings you have 
cruelly robbed remain slaves, the time will come when 
you will pray bitterly to be able to exchange your lot 
with the lowliest, most deeply wronged slave in South 
Carolina ! 

But even with all these powers enlisted to sustain 
that institution (!), which without them could not 
stand one day, it is not, brothers, a formidable foe, 
if we can bring to confront it the true and spotless 
spirit of Liberty. 

Strong as the other is weak — chief among those 
perilous rudimentary laws which, being bred in the 
bone of the world, must come out in the flesh — is 
Liberty. There is a story of a chemist who under- 
took with powerful agents to extract a birth-mark 
from his wife's cheek. After a long while he drew 
it out, but he drew her life with it. Liberty is the 
birth-mark of man, as it is his birthright ; and when 
man ceases to love Liberty, it will be because his 
race has become extinct. 

The spirit of Liberty is as ancient as the most con- 
servative could desire ; it began with the first throb 
of life which ever stirred the heart of Nature. From 
that heart comes the ascending scale of life, each 
higher animal form differing from that which pre- 
ceded it simply by its greater freedom. Where the 


oyster was anchored to a rock, the fish moves freely; 
where the blossom was bound to the stem, the but- 
terfly comes, a freed blossom. Each form was only a 
revolutionary effort for more independent life. The 
human form, when it appeared, was the last and the 
decisive battle of the animal to rise up from the 
earth, and stand free and erect, by that sign sover- 
eign of the planet. Thus the everlasting burden of 
Nature rolls through the echoing caverns of past 
epochs, and bursts up in the hearts and tongues sent 
from her womb to cry aloud, and to struggle end- 
lessly for Liberty, When man first wronged his 
brother, that brother's blood cried to heaven from 
this same old earth ; and, until the last wrong is 
righted and the last of her children free, her mother's 
heart will heave with pain, and utter its uncontrolla- 
ble protest, to be followed, if unheeded, with fiercer 
earthquakes than these. 

Admit not, then, into your hearts a single fear for 
Liberty's cause with her impotent antagonist, what- 
ever fears you may have that this proud government, 
having deliberately taken the side of Slavery, may be 
buried in its grave, which every bayonet, North and 
South, is digging, and equally. But not to that end, 
nor for that reason, should a true and faithful heart 
seize the bayonet or other implement, whether the 
government call or command. Rather let each friend 
of his country plant himself upon his loyalty to that 
which is higher than the banner of the Union, — 


the banner of Liberty ; with that sacred ensign float- 
ing over him, let him stand or be stricken down. 
Up, hearts, and let each deliver his own soul ! Up, 
and the government will be forced to obey you, for 
you will bear the tables of eternal law in your hands ! 
Men need not be dozing in a White House, or wran- 
gling in a Capitol, to be strong : each step upward 
in office marks another shackle assumed. But true 
hearts are free, — free to stand, or be hanged, if 
need be, — and Liberty may yet need her martyrs 
in the North. 

If this country is to be saved, the Abolitionists are 
to save it ; and, though they seem few in numbers, 
they are not by a thousandth so few as were Chris- 
tians when Jesus suffered, or Protestants when Luther 
spoke. There is need only that we should stand as 
one man, and unto the end, for an absolutely Free 
Republic, swearing to promote eternal strife until it 
be attained, — until in waters which Agitation, the 
angel of Freedom, has troubled, the diseased nation 
shall bathe, and be made every whit whole. 

The Golden Hour is before us : there is in America 
enough wisdom and courage to coin it, ere it passes, 
into national honor and peace, if it is all put forth. 

Up, hearts ! 


Cambridge : Stereotyped and Printed by Welch, Bigelow, & Co. 

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